Council Tax set to increase by almost five per cent as Cumberland Council announces budget

Cumberland Council say the budget protects front-line services in the region. Credit: PA

Cumberland Council says that its budget for the next financial year "protects front-line services" as council tax is set to rise by nearly five per cent.

The latest budget was agreed at a council meeting in Carlisle on Wednesday 6 March.

It will see the levy increase by 4.99% in the Cumberland area with the premium on second homes set to increase by 100%.

Payments for council tax will double for second home owners in the Cumberland area from 2025/26. This follows on from a survey conducted by the council which found that over 70% of people that took part believed council tax should double for second home owners.

Speaking on the budget, Councillor Barbara Cannon, Executive member with responsibility for financial planning and assets, said: “I’m pleased that councillors have agreed our budget for the next financial year.

"The budget not only provides the funding needed to continue with our frontline services that so many people rely on, but it also means that we can deliver on the priorities of the people of Cumberland.

“As has been the situation for councils up and down the country, setting this budget has brought its challenges. Local government funding has been severely stretched in recent years at a time when demand for services has been rising fast.

"The responsibilities of local government have grown too with many of our residents not realising the full breadth of services we provide from social care to leisure centres, planning, highways and public health.

“This is why our transformation plan is so important, not only to make our services more effective, but also to put us on a more stable financial footing in the future.

"We have a plan and we need to stick to it to achieve the improvements to services we want to see for our residents, and realise the opportunities of local government reorganisation."

Cumberland Council has also included funding for the council tax reduction scheme which is targeted to support people on low incomes.

The council say that they will be focusing their spending on improving the health and wellbeing of residents. Over the next 12 months anti-smoking campaigns and live longer better campaigns will be rolled out.

The council also say they are going to increase the amount of electric vehicle charging points in the area.

The budget is said to protect public services including schools, libraries and roads.

Councillor Barbara Cannon added: "Putting up council tax is never an easy decision especially at a time when people’s own budgets are stretched.

"With costs rising, increasing council tax helps protect services that are so important for many of our residents - a situation which residents understand given their responses to our consultation.

"For those on the lowest incomes, we have one of the most generous council tax reduction schemes in the country, and I’d encourage anyone who is struggling to pay their bill to contact our customer service team to discuss whether they are eligible for this support.

“The additional income from second homes will help us address the housing issues many of our communities face as well as help bring these homes back into full-time use.”

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