Council tax set to rise in Boston

The Boston Borough Council building.
The Boston Borough Council building.

Council tax bills are set to rise in Boston as the borough council aims to meet a funding deficit.

The authority states it is due to be the seventh worst hit in the country over the next four years following the draft local government finance settlement 2016-17.

With reductions and the eventual withdrawal of all Revenue Support Grant (the main funding from Government) and the likelihood of a further £2 million savings to be found in the next five years - £700,000 to find in 2017/18 - there will need to be large-scale transformation of the council in the coming years.

The council has already made £2.4 million in savings since 2009.

Coun Aaron Spencer, the council’s portfolio holder for finance, said: “Let’s be clear – there is no place to hide. The challenges that lie ahead are unprecedented. Tough decisions will have to be made about the services this council provides going forward. This council can no longer afford to fund all it once could. Residents will see a change to what this council does and how it provides its services. In order to ensure this council can continue to provide the services it is required to do so by law, whilst also supporting the district’s most vulnerable residents and invest in the economy, it must continue to strive to be as efficient as possible in all its work, whilst ensuring it maximises the income it receives.”

He added: “We will have some very hard decisions to make and I ask that residents bear in mind what the Government has tasked us with when we have to make those decisions. So far the council has been able to make the savings required of it. It has an ongoing transformation programme but, as time goes on and we become ever leaner, it becomes more and more difficult to sustain all that we have always done.”

The budget for 2016-17 proposes an increase in council tax of just below two per cent. This will give an average band D council tax increase of 6p per week, with 89 per cent of residents paying less than this. This will be considered first by the Cabinet next Wednesday.

Coun Spencer said: “This budget is designed to meet such challenges head-on and ensure that the best possible services are provided to the people of Boston.”

l A meeting is being held at the Princess Royal Sports Arena from 6-8pm on Tuesday, January 26, for residents to quiz county councillors specifically about Lincolnshire County Council finances.