Lincoln people will pay 1.9 per cent more for city council services after budget is set
A 1.9 per cent rise in the City of Lincoln Council's share of the council tax has been agreed tonight despite an anti-cuts protest.
The authority has approved its £14 million budget for 2013/14 which includes services like bins collections and planning control.
Most council taxpayers will pay just 6p or 7p a week extra. But the city council has to save £3 million by 2016/17 – despite saving £4.5 million since 2008. Savings of £1 million have already been identified for 2013/14.
Proposals include charging people £25 a year for garden waste wheelie bin collections and scrapping the urban rangers. Exactly what will be cut and when is still to be decided by the executive.
Council house rents are going up as well as some planning fees. The ruling Labour group blames inevitable cuts on a poor Government settlement and restrictions on increasing council tax but says it is not a case of overspending at City Hall.
Lincoln Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition staged a protest this evening outside the Guildhall. There were shouts of "Boo" and "Shame on You" from its members seated in the public gallery as the budget was passed.
Lincoln TUSC spokesman Nick Parker said: "The Labour Party increased its share of the vote in last year's council elections as voters rejected Tory/Liberal cuts.
"The people of Lincoln deserve better than for their councillors to swing the axe on behalf of Eric Pickles and the Tory Government.
"The Labour council does have a choice about whether to make cuts.
"If Lincoln Labour councillors stand up for local jobs and services and send the Tories and their cuts packing, they will have the support of the vast majority of the local population, including Lincoln TUSC supporters.
"But if Labour councillors won't show a lead in fighting cuts, they should step aside for people who are prepared to put up a fight."
The city council charge for its services at band A is £160.50 from April and £187.25 at band B. On top of this, people in band A properties will pay £710.46 in 2013/14 for county council services like schools and roads compared to £828.87 at band B. This has been frozen for the third year running.
But people will pay two per cent more for Lincolnshire Police and the levy rises to £126.72 in band A and £147.84 at band B.
Leader of the Conservative opposition on the city council, Councillor Hilton Spratt, spoke against the "stealth tax" on green bins and pledged to protect the rangers and the £1,000 ward budgets given to all 33 city councillors to spend on good causes.
He said savings could be made by merging some back office services with other councils, sharing senior officers and creating a unitary authority system.