Why you will have to pay more and get less

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Council tax payers across Lincolnshire could see their bills rise by an average of more than £50 this year - at the same time as many day-to-day services are either slashed or completely axed.

Lincolnshire County Council is pressing ahead with a 3.95 per cent increase and that confirmation came just hours after East Lindsey District Council leader Craig Leyland announced a planned for rise of 4.6 per cent.

The county’s soon-to-be former Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick has had his proposal for a 1.96 per cent precept increase approved.

In East Lindsey last year, the county council share of the annual tax bill for a Band D property was £1,085.94. The District Council received £122.04 and the Police and Crime Commissioner £197.64.

Based on those figures, the charges will rise by £42.89 for the county, £5.61 for district and £3.85 for the police.

Those three figures equate to an increase of £52.35 although that does not include any share fortown and parish councils.

The two latter bodies are in the process of finalising their budgets. Some have frozen their precept - the amount they need to cover expenditure - and others are looking at an increase.

County and district councils have already said they are looking to cut services.

The county council’s budget - which should be approved at a full council meeting later this month - features a reduction in funding for adult social services, children’s services and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).

There is also mounting speculation over the future of more than 160 bus services which rely heavily on a county council subsidy.

It is a similar scenario at district level, with Coun Leyland admitting last week that financially ELDC is in a ‘very, very dark hole with a small torch’. Coun Leyland said the council was looking at all areas of expenditure but ruled out wholescale redundancies, saying any major job cuts would effectively make the authority ‘unsustainable’.

He did confirm ELDC could hand over responsibility for a number of services to town and parish councils.

At present, town and parish councils have made little provision in their precepts for 2016/17, even though they could have to run additional services.

Any added responsibility - which could include running markets, public toilets and footpath lighting - would have a massive impact on council tax bills next year.

Town and parish councils are already warning they would need a major funding boost to cope with any extra workload and hiking council tax bills is the one obvious option. The amount town and parishes can increase their share of tax bills is not ‘capped’ by Government, unlike county and district authorities. Because the precepts of town and parish councils are much smaller than county and districts, a 10 or 20 per cent rise would equate to a few pence.

There is still a chance that the Government could perform something of a U-turn and increase the amount of funding to the county and district council.

Lincolnshire’s seven Tory MPs say they are continue to lobby for a better deal, as are leading figures at County Hall and ELDC.