PROPOSALS to raise council tax per cent have been defended.
Plans for next year’s Rossendale Council budget were presented to members of the overview and scrutiny as the council continues its budget setting process – set to be confirmed later this month.
Proposals for the budget include a rise in council tax of 1.99 per cent.
Council bosses say over the last few years the local authority has been hit by significant cuts to its central government grants.
It has meant the council has had to generate additional income locally, mainly through increased business rates and council tax revenue.
Senior figures say the cuts have had a significant impact on services but claim despite this the council has still managed to achieve lots of things that have improved the borough.
Cllr Andrew Walmsley, portfolio holder for resources, said: “It’s no secret that we have been through tough times because of budget cuts and there is no indication yet that will change.
“We are still facing a budget gap which needs to be carefully managed. Unfortunately, there are also some unknowns which make it difficult to fully plan such as the outcome of the fair funding review although there are some indications it will not be good news.
“However, despite our budget reducing by millions, we have still managed to achieve a lot and there are lots of things to be excited about.
“Our economic development work has seen us work with Rossendale businesses to help them expand as well as enticing new businesses into the borough.
“We have managed to bring in significant pots of money to fund work to improve our town centres. And we are still delivering high quality services.
“The cost to households for all the services Rossendale provides is, on average, about £3 a week.
“This pays for things like collecting bins, tackling fly tipping, maintaining and making our parks better, improving housing, developing the economy, planning, public protection and working with community groups and others to make a real difference to the borough.
"We will continue to fight for funding and investment for our town centres, deliver big projects and continue working with partners to improve the borough we love.”
A Rossendale Council spokesman added: "The council tax you pay to Rossendale Council is shared between the borough and county councils, Lancashire Fire and Rescue and Lancashire Police.
"As a borough council we retain less than 15p in every pound paid.
"The majority of your council tax goes to Lancashire County Council (71p), which has responsibility for social care.
"The council uses its budget to meet its three priorities: building a more prosperous Rossendale, a cleaner and greener Rossendale and a healthier and more vibrant Rossendale."