COUNCIL taxpayers in Warwickshire will be forced to fork out nearly five per cent more in the coming year while services take a £25 million hit.
Warwickshire County Council agreed a 4.99 per cent hike – around £60 a year for an average Band D home – the maximum an authority can raise tax without a referendum being held.
A further £5 a month is likely to be added to the final bill when Warwick District Council and Warwickshire Police set their respective budgets.
The Conservative-led county council has faced heavy cutbacks in recent years, being forced to save £100 million since 2010.
And this year’s budget revealed even more savings are to be made – some £25 million.
Council chiefs say this will come from redundancies and cuts to services such as health visitors, youth justice and trading standards.
Despite this, some of the council’s £370 million budget will be used to invest nearly £6million in child social care services and nearly £1.5million into adult social care and support.
An additional £2.5million will be spent on a ‘digital transformation programme’ which councillors say will enable residents to ‘help themselves’ and access online services.
Other investments include £300,000 over two years in mental health, drug and alcohol services, which the authority says will help the county’s homeless.
Some £200,000 will be used to introduce fibre optic broadband into schools and £330,000 into special educational needs.
Transport development, community-run libraries and the digitalisation of heritage archives will each receive £100,000 in funding.
An additional £50,000 will also be used to help reskill and retrain ex military service personnel.
Coun leader Izzi Seccombe said: “Despite the financial pressures being experienced by all local government, and increase in demand, particularly in adult social care and vulnerable children’s services, the administration has continued to deliver services that are valued by our residents, and supported the growth of our economy.
“ We have record employment and a record number of business start-ups and expansions in our county and we are proud of this. Warwickshire will be a great place to live and work.”
The budget was passed by 33 votes to 19.