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KCC to consult on 4% increase in council tax

KENT residents face a council tax hike of nearly four per cent as the Conservative-led authority tries to mitigate the impact of another year of cuts totalling £75m. Kent County Council (KCC) launched a consultation period with residents on whether, for the fourth consecutive year, they would accept an increase on the council tax of 1.99% plus a 2% so- cial care precept. KCC says this would contribute £23.7m towards balancing the books. If approved, the bill for house-

holds in Band C properties would rise by nearly £40 from £1,007.60 to £1,047.84. KCCleader Paul Carter said:“We started this journey to save hun- dreds of millions of pounds in 2010 and, by managing this sensibly,we have already saved more than half a billion pounds over six years. “The government has placed an enormous challenge on us by im- posing on local government some of the biggest cuts compared to other parts of the public sector. “With forward planning and fac-

Cllr Jenny Whittle is backing the council tax increase

ing the challenge early on. we are now in a better position than most. We understand that some transfor- mational plans take many years to implement. We have made intelli- gent commissioning decisions and have the situation in hand. “Despite these huge challenges,

we are determined to continue to make Kent a great place to live and work, seeing the population grow and attracting new businesses.” Tory member Jenny Whittle,who represents Maidstone rural east, said she will support the rise and added:“We have stretched the elas- tic as far as we can – we don’t do nearly as much aswe used to.”

KCC Ukip member Frank McKenna said: “It’s a very tricky situation, especially when it comes to social care. It’s down to national government cuts.” The council has identified further savings of £75m for the next finan- cial year, on top of savings of more than half a billion pounds made over the last six years. KCC says there is still more to find before the budget is finalised in February. Residents will be asked if they support KCC’s proposed response to the “financial challenge while facing increasing demands and costs for county council services at a time of reduced funding”.

Crackin’ Christmas Holiday Club

Weds 21st - Fri 23rd Dec (& Tues 3rd Jan) Fully inclusive 7.30am - 6.30pm

From 4-11 years old

Action Packed Fun Days BOOK NOW!

Alleyway rape POLICE have been investigating re- ports of a rape in the centre of Maid- stone. The suspected attack happened on Sunday October 30 after 3am. Detectives have been searching for

a slim, black man with short hair, about 5’8” tall. No arrests had ben made as we

went to press. Contact Kent Police on 01622 604100 quoting 30-0350.

Church plea PARTY-goers at Leeds Castle have raised £19,000 for up-to-the-minute equipment to diagnose and treat breast cancer in Kent. Two hundred guests attended the charity ball in memory of a Lark- field woman who lost her battle with breast cancer in the autumn 2014. For more details visit www.breast-

Book a date MAIDSTONE Mencap members in- vite you to their Christmas concert with the Detling Singers at Cobtree Hall,Willington Street on Saturday, December 10. Refreshments will be available

from 6pm and the concert starts at 6pm.

Tickets are £6 each. Contact Ann on 07548 152201.

Crackin’Christmas Holiday Club is now booking with its usual combination of themed days, trips out and special events. As always we've mixed some familiar favourites with some new ideas to bring you the best for Christmas

01622 737733 14

Newnham Court Shopping Village, Bearsted Rd, Maidstone, Kent ME14 5LH Maidstone December 2016

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