Consultation on council tax and parking charge rises

COUNCIL tax rises and new parking charges — including emissions-based fees in Keynsham — are on the cards as Bath and North East Somerset Council seeks to balance its budget .

The council says it has identified £16.82m of savings and additional income — but these could mean major changes for people in the area.

Council tax is again proposed to rise by the maximum amount allowed. A raft of savings are also planned across adults and children’s services, and other areas of council spending. A public consultation on the proposals will run until January 15.

Mark Elliott, the council’s cabinet member for resources, said there had been “a perfect storm of inadequate government funding, high inflation and increases in demand for services, particularly in children’s social care.”

The council is aiming to bring in additional income of £6.51m, while also making cuts and savings of £10.31m. Most of the new income will come from heritage services, such as the Roman Baths, with the council’s business plan projecting that these assets will raise an extra £4.27m.

But the proposals will also see council tax again rise by 4.99%  — the maximum increase allowed without a local referendum. Two percentage points of this increase will be added to the adult social care precept, a ring-fenced tax which can only be spent on adult social care.

People will also need to pay for the currently free parking in Midsomer Norton and Radstock, with pricing based on emissions as it is in Bath.

Emissions-based parking will also be rolled out to Keynsham and all areas in Bath that do not currently have it, including off-street parking.

The council will be reviewing prices of parking and all highways services, and requiring motorbikes to have permits to park in residents’ parking zones. In total, the council is looking to make an additional £1.25m from parking and highways.

Meanwhile, £802,000 could be cut from the council’s community support contracts across its social care provision. A total of £250,000 would also be cut from discretionary areas of spending on children’s services, such as family support, with the council also planning to make savings by increasing in-house provision.

The proposed savings will be discussed at council scrutiny panels on January 11, 15, and 23 before going before the council cabinet on February 8. The budget will then go for a vote at a full meeting of Bath and North East Somerset Council on February 20.

The public consultation on the plans will run until 5pm on January 15.

You can have your say in the consultation here: