Rising budget gap means 5% tax rise for Peterborough

Peterborough Town Hall
The council is considering selling almost 80 additional properties

A cash-strapped city council has confirmed it will have to increase tax in a bid to balance its budget.

Peterborough City Council's (PCC) deputy leader John Howard exclusively tod BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, that residents will see a 5% rise next year.

This comes as PCC's budget gap is projected to rise by several million pounds more than previously thought over the next few years.

It now faces a shortfall of £6.2m next year (2024/25).

The budget gap will further rise to £8.6m the following year (2025/26) after and £13.8m the year after that according to the most recent medium term financial strategy (MTFS) report.

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, this represented a "significant increase" compared to the council's September report, which forecasted a £5.1m budget gap for next year, followed by £6.1m the year after and £10.5m for 2026.

In October, the authority announced it had identified 79 buildings that could be sold to save money.

Newly appointed executive director of corporate services at Peterborough City Council, Cecilia Booth said: "The rise in inflation and cost of living has impacted the budget gap."

Ms Booth suggested the budget gap could further worsen.

"There's been a rise in demand for our services. Children's services are the biggest pressure we face.

"Adult social care is another one where people have very specific needs. And homelessness is another huge pressure for the council. So if we see a rise in demand the gap will go up further," she added.

Councillor Howard was appointed Peterborough's deputy leader last week after a dramatic vote of no confidence passed against Conservative councillor Wayne Fitzgerald.

He said: "It's still work in progress but our officers are already looking into innovative ways to save money and make sure we are being smart and efficient with our services. It's not just about making cuts to services.

"Council tax increases are not keeping up with inflation. But yes, unfortunately a 5% tax rise is anticipated. It is a tough time."

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