Weymouth and Portland’s share of the council tax is set to increase as part of the borough council’s plans to balance the budget.

A spotlight was put on the 2018/19 budget plans at a Weymouth and Portland Borough Council management committee meeting.

At the meeting, councillors agreed to the recommendation of a 2 per cent increase in council tax. This is lower than the 3 per cent increase allowed by the government.

This means the band D figure will increase by £5.96 per year or 50p a month.

However, the council says the average council tax bill will increase by £4.64 for the year, the equivalent of 39p.

The proposed increase, which will have to be approved by the full council, is set to generate an additional £124,000 for the council in the coming year.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council has been criticised for having the highest band D council tax bills in the country in a report from the Taxpayers’ Alliance. The council hit back saying the report does not take into account parish precepts.

Authorities are in the process of finalising their shares for the coming year. The borough’s charge is 15 per cent of the total bill. Dorset County Council’s share remains the largest element.

Speaking at the management committee, Cllr Gill Taylor said: “We had the option to increase it by three per cent, but we have balanced the budget at two per cent. I am quite happy with sticking to that.”

The budget plans are based upon protecting services, delivering further efficiencies and recognising the Local Government Reorganisation which could mean this is the last budget for the council. 

Jason Vaughan, Strategic Director for Finance at Weymouth and Borough Council, said: “There are no changes to any services for the coming year. 

“We have been able to protect them. We have delivered savings ahead of schedule and have robust plans in place.”

A report put before councillors, states that the gap for 2018/19 was estimated at £945,000, however, this has been balanced through efficiency savings already agreed, the base budget review, further increases to Treasury Management Income and by increasing council tax.

'Budget for year balanced'

The summary of the council’s medium term financial forecast outlines that the council has £364,000 in savings already delivered, £195,000 from the base budget review, £150,000 from Treasury Management, £124,000 from council tax, and £82,000 from the increase in tax base, along with £30,000 from bereavement services. 

In the report, Mr Vaughan states: “I am able to provide a positive assurance statement that the current proposed budget for 2018/19 is a balanced budget and also that the level of reserves are at an adequate level based upon the current proposal.”

The management committee voted in favour of the strategic director’s recommendations, which will be put before the full council for a decision.