Tax hikes proposed to protect council services

County Hall in Exeter.

County Hall in Exeter. - Credit: Archant

Council tax bills for an average Sid Valley household could rise by more than £50 under a series of hikes being considered by the area’s local authorities.

Devon County Council (DCC), East Devon District Council (EDDC) and Sidmouth Town Council (STC) are all looking to raise their share of the council tax bill – or ‘precept’ - in 2016/17.

If all of the increases go ahead as proposed, it would mean an additional £51.12 on the bill of an average band D property.

Money collected from council tax is distributed between DCC, EDDC, STC, the police and the fire service.

DCC last week agreed to a two per cent hike in its share, equal to £23.22 for a band D property.

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Speaking on Wednesday, county treasurer Mary Davis told DCC bosses: “It is estimated that in 2016/17, the council will raise just under £6.5million from a two per cent rise in the precept.

“Next year, the cost of the national living wage will be over £7million.

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“The majority of this cost relates to those who care for vulnerable adults.

“An increase in the precept will help the council deal with the funding pressures linked to an ageing population.”

DCC is also considering an additional 1.99 per cent increase, an extra £23.10 on an annual bill, which would be used to help protect other services it provides.

However, that rise has not yet been agreed, and will be debated before the council signs off its final budget next month.

Meanwhile, EDDC is proposing a 1.99 per cent rise in its share of council tax, which would equal an extra £2.42 for a band D home.

This comes after five consecutive years of no increases from the authority.

The money would be used to protect the services EDDC provides in the face of reduced government funding, but the change still needs to be approved by the council when it meets next month.

STC is also proposing a 3.95 per cent rise in its share of the council tax bill, which would equate to £2.38 for a band D property.

Town councillors will consider the increase when they meet next week.

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