Council tax in Dorset set to rise by 5% if budget is approved

COUNCIL tax in Dorset is set to rise by almost 5% in the coming financial year, if proposals are accepted.

Dorset Council has published initial plans for the 2024/25 budget, which it says will see essential frontline services “protected from cuts”.

Totalling £376 million to be spent on residents, the proposed budget represents an 8% increase in funding for essential services, which includes adult and children’s social care, road maintenance, waste collection, housing support and libraries.

The council said the budget-setting exercise comes amid a national background of extreme pressures for councils, with the likes of Somerset Council declaring a financial emergency amid a funding crisis.

Dorset Council said pressures include the high level of inflation affecting the cost of delivering services, as well as a continued growth in need for social care services as a result of the ageing population.

As a result, the council proposes to increase council tax next year by just under 3%, and to levy the adult social care precept of 2%. The increase would be equivalent to £1.82 extra per week for a Band D property.

READ MORE: Somerset Council could declare bankruptcy amid ‘financial emergency’

Cllr Gary Suttle, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for finance, commercial and capital strategy, said: “We have carefully developed proposals to deliver a balanced budget, in a national context of significant financial challenge for councils.

“Our overriding aim is to protect the essential frontline council services on which local residents and businesses rely.

“Throughout the life of this administration, and in contrast with a number of councils across the country, we have set a balanced budget every year with no cuts to frontline services.”

Before being approved, the budget setting process takes place in several stages.

The proposals are considered by two scrutiny committees, then reviewed and submitted to the council’s cabinet, before the full council votes on the plans in February.

Meetings where the budget will be discussed – which are open to the public – will take place at County Hall in Dorchester on:
January 12, 10am: People and Health Scrutiny Committee
January 17, 11.30am: Place and Resources Scrutiny Committee
January 30, 10am: Cabinet
February 13, 6.30pm: Full Council

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