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Five Per Cent Council Tax Increase Inches Closer For Island Residents

A near five per cent council tax increase is a step closer for Isle of Wight residents.

It comes as the Isle of Wight Council’s cabinet executive approved its proposals last night (Thursday) for the authority’s spending plans in the upcoming financial year.

The potential increase in council tax could see the average Band D resident pay £1,908.39 a year towards services.

The Alliance Administration’s plans include increases to fees for cremations and marriages, reduced hours at the council’s contact centre and £400,000 used to fund highway drainage schemes to reduce flooding.

The proposals will have to cross the final hurdle on Wednesday, February 28, when the cabinet seeks approval of their plans — which they have been working on for the last six months — from the full 39 council members.

Speaking at the cabinet meeting yesterday, Cllr Phil Jordan, the council leader, said this year’s budget shows a change to previous ones as it tries to deliver something for our community “at last,” in a more positive approach.

He said they have committed money to providing affordable homes, a freeze of parking and Floating Bridge charges as well as cash to discount travel for Islanders who go across the Solent for NHS hospital treatments and appointments.

Cllr Ian Stephens, the finance cabinet member, said in the budget the Alliance Administration is proposing they have “looked after today and the future as well, coming up with a robust budget in challenging times which shows our prudence and responsibility.”

He said the additional money promised to the council in recent weeks from government was the “£3 million to help the medicine go down” as the council had faced pressures in pulling together the budget this year but still “did not solve the issue”.

Cllr Stephens said things may get worse before they get better so they need to make sure the council is resilient and has the headroom it needs in its reserves.

As part of the budget plans, the council has had to factor in a £1.2 million structural deficit which would be covered from the authority’s general reserves saving pot.

The approval of the draft budget now opens the door for other members of the Isle of Wight Council to put forward alternative ideas or amendments, which will be put forward in the coming days.

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