Council tax increase and rising rents on the cards
Taxpayers face a 6p a week rise in their council tax
despite government moves to block increases.
Council rents too are to rise by
Gravesham’s cabinet will
recommend a 1.9% increase – a fraction below the point where a
costly local referendum would be needed – when the council meets at
the end of the month.
If agreed, it will add £3.33 to
the average band D property.
Kent County Council, which makes
up the majority of the overall council tax bill will be freezing
its charge this year.
Gravesham’s programme forms part
of what the council describes as a three-year balanced budget aimed
at improving community facilities, protecting council services and
securing the future of community events.
The measures include a freeze on
car park charges, "modest" rises in other council charges and
further efficiencies to meet a £402,000 (7%) cut in government
A key part of the Labour-run
council’s plans will be a new council house-building programme, and
the creation of a £500,000 grant fund to aid community
As well as building 24 new homes
next year, the council is promising free daytime electricity for
its 6,000 tenants by installing solar panels.
By the time the next budget is
discussed, the council hopes to have 2,500 council homes fitted
with the panels.
Council rents are to rise,
however, to meet government demands for higher home
The rise will be 4.96% on
average, taking charges to about £83.26 a week
In the past three years, the
council estimates it has lost more than £2.3 million from the
Cllr John Burden (Lab), council
leader, said more than 50 jobs had gone in the past two
He added: "There have been huge
savings across the council and there will be more, but we have used
money from the New Homes Bonus to create a sustainable three-year
"Given the government’s
continuing appetite for axing grants to local authorities, this has
been a remarkable achievement, but a necessary one to maintain the
services we provide and to be able to continue those events the
The total reduction in
government funding for Gravesham since its austerity measures began
is 41%, excluding the New Homes Bonus.
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