COUNCIL tax is set to rise in Redditch after a budget was passed by Conservatives on the borough council.

Occupiers of a Band B property can expect to pay an extra £3.89 per year (32p per month), with those from a Band D property paying an extra £5 per year (41p per month) for 2021/2022. 

As part of the budget, Redditch Conservatives want to bring forward investments into electric vehicle charging infrastructure, with £160,000 allocated to install electric charging points, as well as a £400,000 investment into parking improvements.

The budget includes a £54,000 saving on the cost of agency staff and vehicle hire, and over £45,000 saved in the back office without affecting front-line service delivery. An allocation of £2m has also been made to support regeneration activities.

The total level of savings achieved comes to over £1.1m, according to Redditch Conservatives.

Councillor Matt Dormer, Leader of the Conservative Group on Redditch Borough Council said: “We are addressing key concerns for our residents through investing in a long-term approach.

“As a council that has enacted a climate emergency, we are investing in the future of transport with more electric car charging points and better parking provision.

“The best thing we can do to support people in getting away from Covid-19 is provide better opportunities for local businesses, invest in skills and enabling strategies for good quality work that will pay good wages."

However, the tax increase has been criticised by the Redditch Labour group before the budget was passed on Monday (February 22). They put forward a budget amendment to reduce the Conservatives council tax rise from 2.04 per cent to 0.7 per cent for one year, to meet with inflation.

Redditch Labour leader councillor Bill Hartnett said: "Many of us have suffered and made sacrifices during this almost 12 months of a global pandemic. It has been a long and hard road, hopefully we are over the worse and hopefully we can soon start to gradually re open the country when it is safe.

"We have businesses both small and large here in Redditch experiencing difficulties, irrespective of which sector they may be in, they have had extra expenses paying for PPE and equipment for safety provisions for both employees and customers, some have had to close, some close then re open and close again, but still face charges for supplies and services, gas, water, electric and rent."

The group added: "By forcing through the maximum at a time when families and businesses are struggling financially because of Covid, Redditch Labour says that this is no more than a Tory Covid Tax and that the government should be stepping up to the plate to provide additional funding to councils this year."