Households in North Somerset will either face a five per cent council tax hike or more cuts to services as the council aims to plug its budget gap.

The council tax rise — technically 4.99 per cent — is the maximum amount councils are able to increase council tax this year without holding a local referendum.

If included in the budget, it would come into effect in the 2023/24 financial year.

North Somerset Council already plans to close Backwell Recycling Centre as part of a sweeping set of cuts and savings across council services aimed at tackling a £17 million black hole in its budget for the financial year.

Ash Cartman, the council’s executive member for corporate services, told a full meeting of the council on January 10: “I think it’s fair to say some of the proposals aren’t particularly popular and we are doing them with a heavy heart.

“But we live in an environment where our costs are rising by over 10 per cent.

“Demand for our services, as we well know, from social care and children’s services, continue to rise but our funding does not keep up.”

But even with the proposed cuts, the council are still £2.5 million away from balancing the budget — something local authorities are legally required to do.

Council tax rises are usually capped at 2.99 per cent, but Mr Cartman said the government was allowing them to raise it by up to 4.99 per cent this year.

He said: “If we take advantage of this two per cent flexibility, the expectation is that we will be able to balance for next year.

“If not, we will have to identify further savings.”

Speaking in an interview before the meeting, Mr Cartman said: “We want councillors and local residents to consider what their feelings are but it’s increasingly difficult to make further savings.”

North Somerset Times: North Somerset Council plans to close Backwell Recycling Centre as part of its cuts and savings.North Somerset Council plans to close Backwell Recycling Centre as part of its cuts and savings. (Image: Google Images)

In December, the government announced the provisional local government settlement for 2023/24, which will see £59.5 billion of funding for councils in England.

Alongside the settlement, the government announced a £100 million scheme to protect the most vulnerable households from council tax rises.

Mr Cartman said: “It’s hard but it’s not as hard as it could have been.”

He added: “It has forced us to do things we did not want to do but we will do them because we have to balance our budget. And we will balance our budget.

“And the recycling centre is a perfect example of that. There is no public support for closing it. There’s no support among councillors for closing it.

“We are doing this because of the financial settlement we have been given.”

North Somerset Council’s executive will set the budget for 2023/24 at an executive meeting on February 8.

This will go to full council for approval on February 21.