Nov 29 2016

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Struggling Stoke-on-Trent residents to be clobbered with 3% council tax rise

Cllr Dave Conway - Smithfield now "fit for purpose"

Cllr Dave Conway “trying to keep the jobs loses as low as possible”

The City Independent, Conservative and UKIP coalition are proposing to hit struggling Stoke-on-Trent residents with a 3% council tax hike – whilst slashing council services by £61m and nearly three hundred jobs loses.

City Independent council leader Dave Conway told PotteriesEYE that he was trying to keep the jobs loses as low as possible.

“I have always firmly believed that employees are our biggest asset and it is incredibly hard that these proposals mean jobs will be lost.

“We are creating new job opportunities in social care.

“It is really important if we are to deliver the best services we can in the future that we keep as much of the knowledge, skills and experience of as many staff as possible.”

The coalition run authority said the proposed plans to increase council tax by three per cent in 2017/18 would directly support social care services for vulnerable people and claimed the majority of residents will only pay an additional 46p per week increase, equal to £24 for the year.
The council said:
“Two per cent of the increase will support care services for older people and those with disabilities so that they can live as independently as possible in their own homes.
“It will see the authority recruit and train 230 new frontline care workers to reduce demand on NHS services and provide long-term support.
“The remaining one per cent of the council tax increase will pay for the increasing number of children who require care.
“The number of children placed in care increased from 549 in 2014 to 661 this year.”
Cllr Conway added:
“The government has said that it expects all local authorities to consider raising council tax to support social care.
“It is with a heavy heart that we have had to do this, but I have made a commitment that this money will only be used to provide services to our most vulnerable residents.
“The reality is that costs go up every year and there is more demand than ever for services for those in need of support.
“To keep paying for the essential services we have to legally provide, we need to look again at all we do and how we do it.”“We have set out a £499.2m capital investment programme to 2021/22. This money comes from a range of sources including grants, capital receipts and borrowing.
“The programme includes £55m to set up a housing company where the council develops and owns a range of housing schemes.
“We have identified eight housing zones on brownfield sites that will deliver around 1,200 new homes, and we will use local builders and suppliers wherever possible. One of these sites, at Wellington Road in the city centre, is already being developed and is creating 100 homes.
“For every 400 homes built, we will receive £1m via the government’s New Homes Bonus and council tax.”
The budget proposals will be scrutinised by council committees over the coming weeks and will be discussed at a special cabinet meeting on 7 December.
A public consultation on the proposals will continue until 24 January and residents can give their views in the following ways: budget2017@stoke.gov.uk, twitter.com/sotcitycouncil,

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Mike Barnes

Permanent link to this article: http://www.potteye.co.uk/stoke-trent-residents-clobbered-3-council-tax-rise/