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Council tax hike for Valley residents

'We have to continue to be cautious with our spending' - Ken Hind, leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council
'We have to continue to be cautious with our spending' - Ken Hind, leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council
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Council tax bills will rise by 3.4 per cent in the Ribble Valley.

Leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council, Ken Hind, has recommended only the second council tax increase in the rural borough in nine years.

The hike adds £5 a year to council taxes paid by those in average band D properties.

Coun. Hind, who also covers Longridge and Dilworth, explained: “This has been a challenging year. Our aim was to produce a balanced budget. We had a budget gap of £818,000, caused by £432,000 cut by Lancashire County Council.

“There have been increases in costs, changes in levels of revenue support and increases in staff wages which are yet to be approved. The final budget stands at £4,933,000 with a council tax requirement of £3,886.285 as we increased the amounts we took from balances business rates and the New Homes Bonus. In reaching these conclusions, the council faced a number of challenging options including abandoning the weekly refuse collection and collecting three weekly, or charging for green waste and abandoning the universal green waste collection. We decided to reject green waste charges and retain the four-stream recycling refuse collection on a weekly basis. All this has been achieved without making one employee redundant or cutting any services.”

He added: “The council levies the lowest council tax in Lancashire of both boroughs and districts.”

Looking to the future, he said: “We cannot be complacent as there are a number of scenarios which could affect our position. We have to continue to be cautious in our spending and drive the local economy to create more jobs, new businesses and expand existing ones to increase our business rate income.

The rise comes after county hall approved its budget for 2018-19 and has already agreed to increase its share by almost 6% and the Police and Crime Commissioner’s share will go up by around 7%.