A COUNCIL tax rise of 4.5 per cent was agreed at a lively budget meeting earlier this week.
The increase is slightly less than the 4.73 per cent which had previously been suggested, but remains well above inflation.
The rise will mean that people living in Band D properties will have to pay around a pound a week more, which adds up to an extra £49.44 in the space of 12 months.
At Monday’s meeting, the Tories argued that people would receive a balanced budget. Leader of the council, Ken Meeson, said he was aware that families were feeling the pinch, but a lower increase just wasn’t possible at the moment.
“With the potential impact on the council of increased financial costs and reductions in income it would have been foolhardy to raid balances or reserves and our priority must be to maintain essential services and ensure that the people of Solihull can have pride in their borough.”
But Coun Norman Davies, who heads up the Lib Dem group, thought that the rise was simply too big.
“I feel and fear that the people of Solihull will not thank the local Conservative party for hitting them with a council tax rise which is considerably more than inflation, at a time when they are getting pay reductions.”
However, the Lib Dems faced criticism themselves for not putting forward amendments to the budget.
Coun Mick Corser, leader of the Labour group, said: “If you are not prepared to come along here and put forward a proposal that is different from the one being suggested then you are being cowards.”
With work already underway to plan for next year’s budget, the council is aiming to make £4milion worth of efficiency savings during the next 12 months.