Burnley’s full council budget meeting voted to raise the borough’s share of council tax to a maximum of 1.99% despite a Tory attack on ‘fantasy’ spending.
The increase, agreed on Wednesday evening, will see the authority’s share of the council tax bill for a semi-detached family home in Strip D rise to £318.49 for the year, an increase of £6.21.
This would mean that residents of houses in Strip A and Strip B, the majority of the borough’s housing stock, would pay an extra charge of less than 10p a week.
Lancashire County Council, which accounts for the lion’s share of Burnley Residents’ Council tax bills, has already agreed to a 3.99 per cent increase, adding £46 to the bill for a Band A property and £70 to D band one.
On top of that, the Commissioner of Police is expected to raise his tax on a Band D property by £10 and the Lancashire Combined Fire Authority to recommend an increase of £5.
The council’s finance boss, Cllr Sue Graham, said the budget was ‘cautious but ambitious’ with investment in major projects such as the Pioneer Place cinema and leisure complex and the center authority’s acquisition Charter Walk shopping in Burnley.
She said this was only possible because the current Labour/Liberal Democrat administration has retained “tight financial control”.
Cllr Graham added that the budget was to ‘give hope and ambition to the people of Burnley rather than negativity’.
But the leader of the Tory group led an attack on ‘whimsical items’ in the budget, including £45,000 for a climate change agent and £21,000 to fill council fountains.
Whittlefield with Ightenhill Tory councilor Don Whitaker said: “The pockets of the people of Burnley are not endless. We cannot keep dipping into them.”
But Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Gordon Birtwistle attacked the Tory government for squeezing pensioners’ finances and pointed out that the Tory-controlled County Council had imposed its own 3.99 per cent maximum increase in its share of the pension tax. housing with the support of Cllr Hosker.
Independent Burnley and Padiham Green Party councilors joined Labor and the LibDems in backing the 1.99% rise.
All nine Tories voted against the hike, although Deputy Mayor and Cliviger along with Cllr Cosima Towneley of Worsthorne said she did so “with great reluctance”.
The meeting also passed a budget amendment from Green Party councilor Scott Cunliffe allocating £15,000 to provide 30 new allocations to tackle the 300-person backlog for smallholdings.