Council tax rise consultation branded 'a joke'

Dan Roper, Cabinet Member for Public Protection.

Dan Roper, Cabinet Member for Public Protection. - Credit: Supplied

A consultation into increasing council tax charges has been labelled 'a joke' by the opposition leader.

Broadland District Council (BDC) is currently consulting on a possible increase to its council tax as it gears up to set its budget for the year.

Dan Roper, leader of the Liberal Democrats on BDC, criticised the consultation, he said: “The questions on this consultation are deliberately vague and designed to give the council the answers it wants. It’s a joke consultation.” 

Mr Roper said the consultation fails to give information about what the council does or how much anything costs. 

Thorpe Lodge / Broadland District Council.<2 of 2> edp 29/6/00

Thorpe Lodge / Broadland District Council. <2 of 2> edp 29/6/00 - Credit: EDP © 2000

The consultation survey said: "The council provides a wider range of services including housing, benefits administration, homelessness prevention, refuse collection, street cleansing, early help, planning and many more".

It adds: "The average Band D council tax charge for Broadland is £129.91.

"Our finances are finely balanced and a £1 increase in council tax contributes around £47,000 towards our expenditure budget of £34 million with reduced funding from central government the council is currently estimating a future funding gap."

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The consultation then asked five multiple-choice questions with a box for additional comments.

The questions include asking residents if they think resources should be targeted at the most vulnerable, if they should encourage business growth and how much council tax should be put up between 'no increase' and £5. 

Mr Roper added: “I think the finances of Broadland district council are more complex than can be covered in five leading multiple-choice questions."

Broadland District Council is freezing its share of the council tax. Pic: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Last year Broadland increased its council tax by 3.5pc - Credit: PA

Norwich City Council's budget consultation sets out a preferred option for a council tax increase - this year set at 1.99pc - and includes a link to the budget paper.

BDC was contacted about Mr Roper's comments but did not respond in time for going to print.

Trudy Mancini-Boyle, cabinet member for finance, has previously said the council wants to listen to locals and businesses and take their ideas into account.

Councillor Trudy Mancini-Boyle, Portfolio Holder for Finance at Broadland District Council. Photo: B

Councillor Trudy Mancini-Boyle, Portfolio Holder for Finance at Broadland District Council. Photo: Broadland District Council. - Credit: Archant

"As a district we are still dealing with the impact of Covid-19, and the increased demand in services it has driven, coupled with reduced funding from central Government.

"In addition, we know our residents are keen to see us operate in the most environmentally friendly ways we can.

"This consultation feedback is key in ensuring we, as members, represent the view of our residents and businesses, and establish which services they consider are priorities for spending in 2022/23."

Last year Broadland increased its council tax by 3.5pc up from £125.52.

The consultation runs until January 14, and can be found at: https://www.southnorfolkandbroadland.gov.uk/council

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