October 23rd, 2016

Underspend in Warwickshire but council tax bills will go up

Underspend in Warwickshire but council tax bills will go up Underspend in Warwickshire but council tax bills will go up
Updated: 2:42 pm, Jul 23, 2015

COUNCIL tax bills will continue to rise despite a £9million underspend by Warwickshire County Council this year.

It is the second consecutive year the cash-strapped council has spent less than it budgeted after after recording a surplus of £21million the previous year.

That brought uproar from unions as service cuts and job losses – made to help save £92million in government grant cuts – were underway.

The council say this year’s underspend has been used to help repay debts and support services and could not be used to cut council tax bills.

But public section union Unison have once again been left baffled by the huge underspend.

Unison representative Tony Rabiaotti said: “I think council tax payers have every right to wonder where their money is going. While services they are paying for are going down, council tax continues to increase.

“When the county council are underspending in this way we need more commitment to services and to see more of the council’s figures and find out where the money is going.”

The council has already committed to implementing an annual 1.99 per cent council tax rise on households until 2018 while it strives to meet its budget reduction target.

This follows three years of frozen council tax bills backed by a government subsidy.

Last year council tax made up nearly a third of the authority’s income to cover day-to-day running of services such as children and adult care, roads and public health.

The tax rise resulted in an extra £20million cash injection for the council, which will double this year when it is once again increased.

But Warwickshire County Council say the underspend cannot be put back into reducing council tax bills.

A spokeswoman told the Observer: “There is currently no county council surplus or deficit.

“The underspend for last year was largely reinvested in services or used to repay debt. As it was one-off money it could not be used to replace council tax monies which fund ongoing services.”