AN increase of £5 per year in council tax for the average household looks set to be approved by Craven District Council.

The council, which is proposing to spend £6.8 million in the coming financial year, looks likely to approve the increase to its precept - which makes up less than 10 per cent of the total bill - when it meets again later this month.

At its Policy Committee meeting, leader, Cllr Richard Foster, praised officers for putting together a balanced budget and said the authority was in far better shape than it had been.

The 2.99 per cent increase - for the third year running - will increase the council’s precept on a Band D property to £162.21 for the year, or just less than 10p per week.

In a statement, after the meeting, Cllr Foster, said the council was proud of the services it offered its residents for £3.22 per week.

“We have continued to maintain and develop services, creating ambitious plans for the future, while cutting costs and increasing income wherever possible, and we have made savings of £110,000 over the last year. Once again we face difficult decisions due to the ongoing reduction in support from central government. Our Revenue Support Grant has been reduced by 60 per cent from 2017-18, and the grant will disappear altogether by 2019.”

“We feel the best option to maintain services is to increase council tax by a small amount.

“To avoid cuts to services, we are also proposing to use £100,000 of the New Homes Bonus to support the budget in the short term.

“In our budget consultation residents told us that the services we provide are important. There was a high level of support for increasing council tax charges.

“We are determined to continue to deliver excellent value for money. If this budget is approved, residents will pay just £3.22 per week for bin collections, street cleansing, recycling, environmental health, planning, economic development, community events, Craven Leisure, Skipton Town Hall and Craven Museum and Gallery.”

The proposed budget will be funded by the council’s projected revenues and a contribution from the council’s reserves. The council will maintain a General Fund Balance of £995,000 for unforeseen outgoings.

For 2018 -19 a further £185,000 of savings and income have been included within the recommended budget, rising to £219,000 in 2019 - 20.

Craven’s precept accounts for less than ten per cent of the total amount residents pay in Council Tax. The remainder is made up by North Yorkshire County Council, the Fire and Rescue Authority, the police and parish or town councils.

Final approval of the budget and setting of the Council Tax will be made at the full meeting of Craven District Council on February 27.