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Budget Roundup: Council Tax On The Rise Across The Island

Council tax for Isle of Wight residents is likely to increase in the coming days by nearly five per cent.

It means the Isle of Wight Council will be asking the average Band D taxpayer to pay £1,908.39 a year towards the services it provides — a £90 increase on the year before.

The ruling Alliance Administration has unveiled its plans for the future financial year ahead, with an extra £3 million from government softening the heavy cuts which could have been headed our way.

The administration will look to increase fees for marriages and cremations but freeze any hike in parking charges.

It is also looking to reduce the hours of the council’s contact centre — making the service 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday — restructure the libraries and heritage service, and reduce officer support to cabinet members.

New projects could see the car park at County Hall resurfaced, costing £30,000; refurbished offices at Seaclose to provide Coroners Court facilities and highway drainage schemes to reduce flooding.

Who else is proposing what?

With the main budget proposals coming from the Alliance Administration, opposition groups can look to make changes — and proposals have come from all corners of the chamber.

Every group, however, is united in calling for a 4.99 per cent council tax increase.

Cllrs Richard Quigley and Geoff Brodie are asking the cabinet to sell some of the council’s assets to fund the purchase of more affordable houses.

The Liberal Democrats are looking to add more money to the community capacity and resilience fund, supporting projects which deal with poverty, mental health and support for women leaving trauma.

In a joint bid, the Conservatives and Empowering Islanders are looking to provide affordable housing by building on council land and providing pre-fabricated homes; pay for a study looking at keeping the Military Road open and creating a facility for children and young people with extensive special educational needs so they can be cared for on the Island.

What pressures are faced by the Isle of Wight Council? 

Despite the increase in council tax, the authority is proposing entering the next financial year in a ‘structural deficit’ and would cover a £1.2 million budget gap from its savings.

Delivering services on an island comes with an added cost and latest data from the council suggests it comes with an additional £23.7 million price tag.

The authority did present an evidence case to the government asking for more money and has been given an additional £3 million in January but the government is “yet to be convinced” to give the council more, the council says in its budget report.

What’s next?

Now all the proposals have come forward, councillors will meet on Wednesday (February 28) to discuss and decide on which they would like to take forward in the 2024/25 financial year.

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