England

Hartlepool council to raise tax by 3.9% amid cuts

Council tax is set to rise by 3.9% in Hartlepool after a five-year freeze as the council outlined its budget for the next financial year.

For the majority of homes that will mean the weekly rate rises by 83p from April from £21.70.

Hartlepool Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher said front-line services and jobs are being protected.

He also said the council was losing £4.5m from its government grant in 2016-17, a cut of about 18%.

The council said it would also lose £3.8m in Business Rates from April after Hartlepool Power Station appealed against the amount it should pay.

Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher said the council had no option but to increase council tax.

He said: "If we had not gone along with the rise it would have seriously jeopardised our ability to protect the most vulnerable residents of our town - particularly the frail and the elderly - and this is not a situation we were prepared to accept.

"The budget we have agreed is prudent and enables us to protect front line services and ensure that there are no compulsory redundancies."

The council said by 2019-20 it will have seen its government funding cut by two-thirds or £38m since 2011-12.

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