Grantham

South Kesteven hikes council tax and puts aside £15k for food banks

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Councillors in South Kesteven have agreed to put aside £15,000 to support food banks across the district as they approved a 3.25% increase in their council tax.

Members voted in favour of the budget for 2019/20 at a full council meeting today.

The rise equates to £5 for a band D property, the highest rate before a local referendum would be required.

It means the rate for an average band D property will rise from £153.62 to £158.62.

Councillor Charmaine Morgan. Photo: Lincolnshire Reporter

During the meeting, Councillor Charmaine Morgan said food banks demand to help local children had risen by 69% on the same time last year.

So far this year, one of Grantham’s food banks had helped 1,768 children and 2,572 adults, she said.

She put the reasons down to the increasing costs and the introduction of Universal Credit.

She said: “Whatever challenges we face, there are others struggling to fund their next meal.”

South Kesteven District Council’s Full Council meeting on March 1.

Every person who goes to a food bank, she said, receives nine meals at a cost of £1 per meal.

Councillor Morgan asked for £10,000 to be put aside for food banks from the reserve, however, this was upped by Council leader Matthew Lee to £15,000 on the agreement it was spread across the whole district.

During the rest of the meeting, councillors raised concerns over whether the council would make the savings it was hoping to do so.

Councillor Ashley Baxter said some of those in last years budget had not been successful, including that of car parking.

Concerns also included the council’s work with rural communities and, away from the council’s own budget, that of street lighting and policing.

SKDC Leader Councillor Matthew Lee (right) with deputy Kelham Cooke at the front of Full Council.

Council leader Matthew Lee said the budget “ensured a district which works for everyone”.

He told councillors challenges would “continue to be met with unflinching focus on the long term interests of this council and the people we serve.”

Following the meeting he said: “I’m really pleased, this is a budget that’s dealing with so many issues that are important to our local residents.

“It wasn’t unanimous but we got lots of cross-party support for the budget because even opposition councillors realise there’s a great deal to do and this budget is an excellent way of solving many of the problems they face.”

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