At a council meeting earlier this month, North Somerset councillors approved our fourth balanced budget of our cross-party administration.
We had a £17 million gap between what we need to spend to maintain services and manage inflationary pressures and growing demand, especially in social care, and what we had available.
We've worked hard over many months to balance the books and try to contain council tax as much as possible during the cost-of-living crisis we are all experiencing.
Council tax will rise from April by 1.99% plus a further 2% in adult social care precept - which is the government's method to increase funding for social care. The average Band D council tax bill will rise by about £6 a month and North Somerset Council's share of the bill will be £1,627 - the second lowest in the region. Despite the pressures we have faced, North Somerset residents will pay around £369 a year less than our neighbours in Bristol and around £125 a year less than South Gloucestershire.
This year we have also introduced some extra help with council tax for those on the lowest incomes so around 12,000 households will automatically receive an extra discount of £20-£25 off their bills. This is targeted at those who receive council tax support, housing benefit and households with children receiving free school meals.
As well as North Somerset Council's charge, the final council tax bill includes charges for Avon and Somerset Police Authority, Avon Fire and Rescue, and town and parish councils. Council tax bills for 2023/24 will be sent out in March and residents will be able to view and download their latest bill online by signing up to e-billing at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/<wbr>myaccount.
The budget was supported by Liberal Democrat, independent, Labour and Green councillors. The seven Conservative councillors who bothered to turn up (out of 13) proposed no amendments or alternative ideas at all. Despite this, five voted against the budget as a whole and two sat on their hands and cast no vote.