The decision was confirmed by Stirling Council today (Thursday, 27 February) after Elected Members met to discuss options for Council Tax and Housing Rent rates for the year ahead.
The new rate will allow Stirling Council to raise an additional £0.916million in comparison to last year’s 3% increase cap, boosting the total budget by approximately £2.410million.
Council Leader, Scott Farmer said: “Council Tax provides the backbone of funding for our services and, when set against a backdrop of continuing uncertainty over the national budget process and the continued reduction in funding for Scottish Local Authorities, choosing anything other than the maximum increase would mean the additional funding would have to come from our service budgets.
“That wasn’t an option as we will always prioritise service provision over making cuts."
He added: “This week’s announcement of extra funding for Councils in the Scottish budget is welcomed and will further help to protect our communities from the level of reductions in budget, which we are inevitably facing.”
The increase means the new rate of Council Tax for Band D properties in Stirling (homes valued at £45,001 to £58,000) is £1,344.29 – a weekly increase of £1.19.
HOUSING RENT UP AT LOWEST RATE
At the same meeting, Councillors also took the decision to increase Housing Rents by 3.2% for the year ahead, following a period of consultation with tenants.
The consultation process was agreed with the Housing Advisory Group and included the use of the Council’s website, Facebook and Twitter as well as letters to all tenants.
From November to December 2019, residents were asked to choose between a rise of 3.2% or 4.0% to fund the estimated cost pressures faced by Housing Services in the coming financial year.
A total of 843 responses were received, with 77% in favour of the lower 3.2% increase.
Depute Leader of the Council, and vice convener for Environment and Housing, Cllr Danny Gibson said: “We have listened to what our tenants wanted and responded accordingly. Their input was crucial in this process and they have led the way throughout, from shaping the consultation to giving us our biggest response to the rent consultation in recent years.
“A greater increase would have funded the expansion of solar panels and battery storage, which would ultimately reduce tenant energy bills and fuel poverty, as well as address climate and environmental concerns.
“However, the support was not there for that and we are confident that the 3.2% increase is sufficient to fund the increasing cost pressures on our Housing Service in the coming year.”
The 3.2% increase will mean the average rent will increase by £2.35 per week over the 48-week rental period, moving from £73.42 in 2019/20 to £76.36 in 2020/21.
Access all information
You can view all information related to Council Tax and Housing Rent in the agenda for today's Special Council meeting, available as a downloadable PDF.
Stirling Council’s full budget will be set at a Special Meeting of the Council on Thursday, 12 March 2020.