Stockport Councillors have agreed that the budget for the financial year 2018/19 will require a 4.99% increase in the Tax which goes to the Council.
The decision comes as Councillors look to plug next year’s budget shortfall of £18m. The budget balances achieving this, with protecting the services upon which people rely and reforming services, whilst avoiding a new maximum Council Tax rise of 5.99%.
Even with this year’s rise of 4.99%, the budget is forecast to plug less than half the shortfall.
As a result, the Council budget has looked to other measures. These include a range of efficiency savings and investments, which save or generate money for the Council. In total these will generate savings of £7.7m this year.
This means this year’s Council Tax rise will result in an increase of £75.94 for somebody living in an average Band D property.
Explaining why this difficult decision was taken, Leader of Stockport Council, Councillor Alex Ganotis, said: “Nobody who voted for this budget will have taken the decision lightly. Councillors are aware this is a significant rise, and intently aware of the impact upon residents.
“However we are also fortunate to be in a position where we do not require the maximum rise – partly due to responsible investments made previously in growth and reform.
“This budget continues this approach with a clear plan for the future of Stockport – which can promote growth whilst placing the council in a better position to limit tax increases in future. The other option, wholesale cuts now, would be counterproductive later, generating significant recurring costs down the line.
“Our approach is also extremely serious about the services upon which people rely. Some of these are currently facing significant pressures, particularly with increasing costs in Adult Social Care and Children’s services.”
Cllr Ganotis added: “In sum, this budget is focused on ensuring that our residents continue to receive the services they rely upon in a time where Councils across the country must do more with less.
“For these reasons, I believe we have taken the difficult but responsible decisions needed; not just to balance the books, but to provide balance between the taxpayer, the future of services, and the future of Stockport.”