Plymouth residents continue to pay the lowest average council tax in region

Plymouth residents will continue to pay the lowest average Council Tax in the South West peninsula after the City Council agreed not to increase the tax for council services.

The full council agreed a zero increase for council services but did agree the two per cent Council Tax precept the Government has introduced specifically to support adult social care.

The decision means Plymouth City Council’s total increase of two per cent is one of the lowest in region, with most other authorities introducing a Council Tax increase on top of the social care precept.

Councillor Mark Lowry, Cabinet member for Finance, said: “We are very aware of the financial pressures many Plymouth families are under and despite the huge reductions in our Government funding we decided not to increase the basic Council Tax.

“We somewhat reluctantly agreed the social care precept that the Government has introduced as the alternative would have been to cut care for the elderly.

“It has been incredibly difficult to set a balanced budget following year after year of funding cuts.

“The cold, hard facts speak for themselves. In the next four years we are facing a further cut of £35 million to our core Government grant to just £9.5 million. That’s a reduction of 79 per cent.

“Plymouth has lost the equivalent of £1,500 for every man, woman and child in the city as a result of cuts to our revenue support grant since 2010.

“But we have not been sitting around waiting for the storm to hit. We have made and will continue to make massive changes to the organisation to be more efficient and effective in the face of the changing landscape of local government. We have been pulling our belts extremely tight. For example, we have reduced our workforce by 29 per cent in three years, reduced pay awards and delivered in year savings of just under £6 million.

“Under this budget we have done everything within our power to protect the young, the vulnerable and the old and keep them safe. We also remain committed to creating jobs and ensuring we do our core services well, such as keeping the city clean. However, there’s no question when you look at what the Government is doing to local funding that we are going to be extremely stretched to carry on providing all services in the same way in the future.”