East Lindsey

East Lindsey votes through 3.75% council tax rise

East Lindsey District Council will increase its share of council tax by 3.75% after councillors approved the budget proposals.

The authority’s budget for 2018-19 was supported by a margin of 37 to one, with one abstention at a meeting of the Full Council in Manby on Thursday, March 8.

The tax hike equates to an almost £5 increase for Band D properties, rising from £131.94 to £136.89.

Other takeaways from the meeting saw Councillor Richard Fry, portfolio holder for finance, confirm to councillors that the authority received a bonus £2 million from the government’s 100% business rates retention pilot scheme.

Money from this will go to reintroducing councillors’ grants, where members will each receive £1,500 to spend in their communities, a total of £82,500.

£120,000 will be invested in revitalising shop fronts in the district and five apprentices will be recruited to improve the street scene at a cost of £50,000.

Councillor Fry said that unlike Northamptonshire County Council, East Lindsey had been prudent and now was the time to release slightly more funding.

He said: “This budget will help deliver our statutory services, help us protect vulnerable residents and promote economic growth in the district.”

His speech was echoed by council leader Craig Leyland, who stressed prudence and sound financial management.

He said: “We don’t do things recklessly as a council. We are seeking to improve our economy.”

Councillor Neil Cooper, Conservative ward member for Burgh Le Marsh commended the budget, added: “I’m particularly pleased councillors’ grants will be reinstated. I could’ve spent the money in my ward 10 times over.”

Councillor Terry Knowles, leader of the East Lindsey Independent group, and Councillor Danny Brookes, leader of the UKIP group, both said that they “generally supported” the budget.

However, Councillor Brookes, member for Skegness Winthorpe, said that more money should be spent on the coast, something Councillor Knowles, who represents the inland Grimoldby ward, did not agree with.

Labour member Councillor Ros Jackson proposed an amendment, which was comprehensively rejected, to invest more in the district’s street scene and dog wardens.

Councillor Jackson also warned the council not to “hoard” reserves, especially at a time when taxpayers are “getting less and paying more”, as this could undermine the county’s campaign for fairer funding.

She said: “If we’ve got £5 million+ in reserves, what are the government going to think? They’re going to think we have plenty of money.”

Councillor Brookes, who especially wanted more spent on street scene officers in Skegness, added: “This council is slashing, slashing and slashing like Norman Bates in Psycho.”

Councillor Daniel McNally, Conservative member for Marshchapel and Somercotes, joked: “You’d have to be psycho to support the amendment.”