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Dartford set for first council tax hike in seven years

PUBLISHED: 13:40 01 March 2017 | UPDATED: 13:40 01 March 2017

Dartford civic centre

Dartford civic centre

Archant

The decision was made on Monday

A rare hike in council tax has been given the go ahead by councillors.

For the first time in seven years, Dartford council agreed to raise its share of the tax, by £4.95 for the average Band D property.

At a meeting on Monday, the full council met to discuss the budget for the coming financial year, as local authorities prepare for a massive cut in government support grants.

The cuts mean that by 2020, all councils will have to become self-sufficient.

In a bid to fight the growing challenges, the Tory-controlled council decided to give the hike the go-ahead - warning it could lose £856,000 over the next five years if it doesn’t bring in the rise.

But Jonathon Hawkes, the borough’s Labour leader, warned: “This is a budget that risks breaking the contract between the council and people of Dartford, People can accept the need to pay more for improved services.

“This is a budget that will see Dartford residents paying more and getting less.”

However the council said it is making the hike but “accompanies it with an undertaking to continue to maintain and protect services as it has been doing whilst targeting areas of particular public concern.

“The Council will therefore protect and extend those services that are important to the public whilst continuing to identify efficiencies and other income opportunities.”

Aside from a rise in council tax, Monday’s meeting also saw the council agree to pump an extra £200,000 into providing temporary accommodation for residents around the borough.

A further £71,000 has been put into waste and parks management to cover the rising cost of waste collection and street cleaning.

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