Tunbridge Wells Borough Council proposes minimal tax rise

    It is good news for homeowners who face a minimal increase in council tax as Tunbridge Wells Borough Council [TWBC] looks to balance its books.

    The authority’s Cabinet unanimously approved the plan contained in its 2018/19 Budget in a meeting on Thursday [February 1].

    If the draft proposal is given final approval, residents will pay an average £4.98 extra per year to net TWBC an additional £300,000.

    Lee Colyer, the authority’s Director of Finance, said the spending plan was necessary due to central Government grants being stopped entirely.

    Alongside proposed internal efficiencies, the savings are projected to balance the books with central government reducing £202,000 in grants to zero.

    TWBC will also see their New Homes Bonus, a Government grant to encourage house building, cut by £302,000.

    Councillor Tracy Moore, a member of the Conservative-ruled Cabinet, said: “I would like to congratulate the finance team as [balancing the books] is an excellent achievement.”

    Mr Colyer said there will be no use of the general fund and no major reductions to services.

    TWBC’s accounts will also be boosted by a fund that retains 100 per cent of income from local business rates.

    The authority successfully bid to be included alongside all Kent councils in the scheme, which will provide funding for one-off projects.

    The Budget will now go before the full council in a meeting on February 21, having already been passed though the council’s cabinet advisory board.

    If a majority of members vote in favour at the full council meeting, the Budget will be applied from April.