Lincs plans tax rise over highways funding cut

Lincolnshire County Council is proposing an additional 2% rise in council tax to help fill a £12m gap in highway maintenance funding.

It follows a call last month for transport secretary Grant Shapps to return ‘millions’ cut from the council's maintenance budget.

The council has now conceded that the Government is ‘unlikely’ to reverse the cut and its executive has put forward updated budget proposals ‘to avoid a reduction in road maintenance’.

Council leader Martin Hill said: ‘We know road repairs are a priority for residents and have always done our best to protect the highways maintenance budget from cuts. However, despite lobbying from both the council and Lincolnshire’s MPs, it looks like the Government will not be reinstating the £12m they cut from our highways grant last year.

‘As a result, the executive has little choice but to propose a 2% increase in general council tax to help make up the shortfall. Despite this, we will still need to use £2.3m from our reserves over the coming year in order to balance the books.’

Cllr Hill added: ‘We’re disappointed that local taxpayers are again being left to foot the bill, especially when the Government raises billions each year through fuel duty and road tax.’

The updated budget proposals for 2022/23 will be put before the full council on 18 February. The proposed increase in general council tax is in addition to a 3% rise in the adult care precept, which means council tax bills will rise by 5%.

Following the Autumn Budget, Highways reported an apparent cut of around £200m over the next three years to local road maintenance funding for councils in England outside mayoral combined authorities.

This week the County Councils Network said councils outside of England’s major cities and urban areas will see a reduction of £480m in 2022/23, compared to two years ago.

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