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Tax and rent levels set to rise as Gravesham battles "huge losses" inflicted by pandemic

Council tax and rent levels are set to rise as Gravesham council looks to battle "huge losses" inflicted by the pandemic.

The council's cabinet met on Monday February 1 to discuss recent financial performance and look ahead to the forthcoming budget - which is due to be set on Tuesday February 23.

Stock image.
Stock image.

A report on recent performance, up to December 31 last year showed the council was facing a "projected year-end adverse variance" of £2million.

The cabinet heard there was an anticipated deficit with regard to Leisure Services - but that the loss had been reduced by money from the Government's Sales, Fees and Charges Compensation Scheme, designed to help local authorities through the pandemic.

The Woodville theatre and Borough Market income had also been affected by the pandemic, but again helped by the compensation Scheme, while there were also reported reductions in income from the Horn Yard and Market Square car parks.

Interest and investment income had also reduced and now showed an adverse variance, although the Cabinet was informed that, due to the Council’s efforts over the last five years, it had a "strong level of reserves which would be sufficient to avoid serious financial difficulty in the short term."

However the Council was now also forecasting a shortfall from 2025/2026 onwards.

The budget for 2021/22, due to be discussed later this month, includes the proposal to raise council tax by 2.3% - which for Band D properties relates to a £4.95 tax increase from £208.08 to £213.03.

Dwelling rents are also due to rise by 1.5%.

The full minutes of the meeting are available on the council's website.

Read more: all the latest news from Gravesham

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