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Council Tax Increase And 'Structural Deficit' Revealed In Isle Of Wight Budget

A near five per cent increase in council tax is on the cards for Islanders, as the Isle of Wight Council reveals its budget plans, tonight (Wednesday).

County Hall has also revealed it may enter the 2024/5  financial year in a ‘structural deficit’, and has already had to use £1.2 million in savings.

On Monday, the government announced it would give the Isle of Wight Council £4 million as part of the local government funding settlement, recognising our Island status.

It is £3 million more than usual, but falls a long way short of the £23.7 million the council claims is the true cost of being apart from the mainland.

Under the budget plans, the authority will be asking the average Band D taxpayer to pay £1,908.39 a year towards services.

That is an increase of £90 over 12 months for a Band D property (compared to £1,817.61 in 2023/4).

Increases in payments for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary, as well as town, parish and community councils, are on top.

Charges are expected to rise for cremations and marriages, making County Hall an extra £137,000 a year.

What is included in the Isle of Wight Council budget for 2024/25?

  • Admin staff roles lost among those working on children’s and families services – saving £92,000
  • Reduced contact centre opening times: No Saturday service; on weekdays, 9am to 5pm instead of 8am to 6pm – saving £29,400
  • Bulky waste, collection of rubbish from schools and the Collection Plus service to go up in price – making £9,800
  • 50 per cent increase in the charge for a replacement concessionary bus pass (to £15) — making £3,000
  • Reduction in the money paid to transport operators to cover concessionary fares – saving £500,000
  • Less council officer support for leading Isle of Wight Council members  – saving £15,000
  • Restructure of libraries and heritage services — saving £24,000
  • Charging schools more for ‘improved’ HR advice – making £5,000
  • Extended joint approach to funding Ryde Help Centre – saving £3,100
  • Islanders using respite services at The Gouldings and The Adelaide will be charged more – making £63,100

New council projects could see £30,000 spent to resurface the car park at County Hall, for health and safety reasons.

£86,000 could be spent refurbishing the offices at Seaclose, to provide Coroner’s Court facilities.

Highway drainage schemes have also been proposed to reduce flooding, at a cost of £400,000.

The budget would also include a 75 per cent discount for those on the local council tax support scheme, while the exceptional hardship fund would be scrapped.

Of the proposed council tax increase, two per cent would go towards Adult Social Care, which faces ‘unavoidable cost pressures’.

Between adult and children’s social care, the Isle of Wight Council has had to find an additional £11.3 million, just to keep services at their existing levels.

Built into the 2024/25 budget, which could be approved when the Isle of Wight Council meets in full, later this month, is £2.75 million in savings.

These must be found in addition to today’s proposed budget plans.

The Alliance Administration, which has propose the budget released today, says it aims ‘to continue to reverse the cycle of cuts’ and has blamed a lack of government funding for the changes.

Other groups may offer their own alternative budget plans and a decision will be made at the meeting on February 21.

Plans agreed by delegated decision to hike parking charges, by 10p per hour, making around £400,000 per year, have been scrapped.

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