Sheffield councillors expected to approve maximum permitted council tax rise

Sheffield Town Hall.
Sheffield Town Hall.

Plans to increase council tax by the maximum permitted 5.99 per cent are expected to be approved at Sheffield Council's budget meeting today.

Officers have recommended that the proposals - which will see a typical household pay just over £57 a year more - are approved to help cover the rising cost of social care.

The rise would add around £1.10 a week to the bill from April for households in band A properties, which account for around 60 per cent of homes within the city.

Speaking at a meeting of the council's cabinet last month, leader Coun Julie Dore said: "This is the highest council tax that we have set and it's always difficult for us to increase council tax because we know that there are many residents struggling.

"The cost of living crisis is not in real terms being seen in households in Sheffield. We know that wages are not rising as high as inflation.

"Putting up council tax is not easy but we find it necessary because we know that those who are struggling would struggle more if we didn't do it. We are reluctant to put it up but we feel we are forced into it."

The proposed increase consists of three per cent for the social care precept and a 2.99 per cent general rise, which is the maximum amount allowed by the Government without a referendum being required.

An extra £8 per year year is also being asked for to pay for policing, and the Fire Authority is looking to increase its precept by 2.97 per cent. The council's share of the tax for a band A property for 2018/19 would stand at £1,009.28 under the proposals - up from £952.24 this year.

For a band D property, which is widely used as the barometer for council tax nationally, the council's share would rise from £1,428.36 this year to £1,513.92 for 2018/19.

If approved, it will be the second year running council tax in Sheffield has gone up by the maximum permissible amount, following a rise of 4.99 per cent last year, since when the cap has been increased.

The ruling Labour group said the rise was needed to help fill a £44 million funding gap for next year, with £15 million extra needed for social care and a continuing reduction in funding from central government.

Deputy leader Coun Olivia Blake said: "The budget has been a significant challenge this year. As we have seen one council already has pressed the button and other councils are making noises that they are struggling - it's credit to the staff we have that we are not in that position even given the pressures we are under."