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Tax bills rise to improve our services'

PUBLISHED: 11:24 15 January 2009 | UPDATED: 10:23 23 August 2010

WRECKAGE: The lorry as careered through a barrier and hit a silver Lexus car in which the driver died.

WRECKAGE: The lorry as careered through a barrier and hit a silver Lexus car in which the driver died.

COUNCIL tax bills are set to rise by 2.85 per cent this year, the lowest increase since the tax was introduced in 1993. The proposal, announced at a Kent County Council (KCC) meeting last Wednesday, will mean that the KCC element for a band D property wi

HERO: Tony Pearce.

COUNCIL tax bills are set to rise by 2.85 per cent this year, the lowest increase since the tax was introduced in 1993.

The proposal, announced at a Kent County Council (KCC) meeting last Wednesday, will mean that the KCC element for a band D property will increase by £28.53 (55p a week) to £1,030.32.

At the meeting it was also announced that KCC staff will receive a one per cent pay award, which will be built into the budget.

The proposals will need to be approved by the council's cabinet on February 2 and the county council on February 19.

Leader Paul Carter said: "Our proposals protect and further improve frontline services. The recession and the growing elderly population in the county create enormous pressures on our budget. In adult social care alone we are having to allocate an additional £8.7m to maintain services for the most vulnerable.

"Increased demand for services and other cost pressures mean we have had to put an additional £66.4m into the budget. The net increase in our government grant was £5.1m, leaving the rest to be raised locally from savings, income and council tax. The county council will deliver £39.3m in savings and income during 2009 to 2010."

The proposals have been welcomed by the Kent Labour Party, but they have questioned whether it will last beyond this year, which is when the county council elections are to be held.

Derek Smyth, shadow cabinet member for Finance said: "When people come to vote in this year's County Council elections, they need to remember that they're not voting on what they are paying at the time, they're really voting on the kind of council tax levels they'd like to see in the future."

The budget proposals also outline increased expenditure in the county, including an extra £4.6 million for services to protect vulnerable young people, £8.7 million investment in adult social care, and a £3.8 million programme to give free bus travel to 11-16-year-olds.

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