Plans to hike Luton council tax bills by 3.95% voted through

Luton Town Hall
Luton Town Hall

Council tax bills in Luton are set to be hiked for the fifth year running.

Proposals to increase Luton Borough Council’s precept by 3.95% were agreed by Labour councillors on Monday night, in a move that could net LBC an extra £5.5 million a year.

The hike represents a 1.95% increase in LBC’s portion of the standard council tax bill, with an additional 2% on top for adult social care.

If the proposal is voted through by the full council on February 22 band D households will have to pay £1,546.32 annually.

This is a £54.05 increase on the current band D charge of £1492.27.

The planned hike would be the 17th time in 19 years the precept has gone up.

Since 1998-99 LBC has increased its council tax charges 16 times and has frozen them just twice (in 2004-05 and 2011-12).

The council has said that its plans to hike the precept for the 2016-17 financial year are the result of swingeing government cuts to funding for local councils.

An LBC report states: “Since Luton is relatively grant dependent, with a low council tax base (the average property in Luton is valued between bands A and B for council tax purposes, and Luton’s council tax level is below the national average), the high levels of revenue support grant reductionhave a very significant impact on the council.

“This means that the council needs to be prepared to make major savings and increase its income on an ongoing basis.”

Following Monday night’s decision, Cllr Andy Malcolm said: “Despite the council tax increase, Luton Council continues to demonstrate significant value for money.

“The proposals would again enable Luton to set the lowest council tax in Bedfordshire, and would keep band D bills around 32 per cent below the national average per head of population.

“Luton has a strong track record from saving £86.5 million over the last five years with the minimum possible impact on front-line services, and this year’s budget proposals seek to build on that achievement.”