LEADERS of two district councils have pledged to keep their council tax demands low ahead of expected inflation-busting rises from other billing authorities.

Hambleton District Council leader Councillor Mark Robson said the authority would keep its precept among the country’s lowest, while Richmondshire District Council leader Councillor Yvonne Peacock said her authority would set a demand below the maximum 2.99 per cent rise allowed without a referendum.

The leaders were speaking after the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner indicated her ambition to raise North Yorkshire Police’s element of council tax bills by 10.3 per cent to meet rising demands.

Meanwhile, North Yorkshire County Council has revealed a proposal to raise its precept by almost five per cent to pay for soaring social care costs.

Cllr Peacock said: “It is important that we keep in mind that some other authorities, such as the county council and the police, are looking to raise their council tax demands.

“Richmondshire was recently named the best place to live in the country and keeping council tax low is all part of that.”

Her comments come ahead of the Richmondshire council’s leading members considering an officer’s recommendation to raise council tax demand for a Band D property to £217.72. Officers have suggested the council tax rise after highlighting how the council had seen a 56.7 per cent cut in Government funding over the past decade.

Both Richmondshire and Hambleton councils are expected to benefit from being part of a pilot scheme trialling a system where they are allowed to retain 75 per cent of local business rates.

Projections suggest that Richmondshire could benefit by £505,000, and Cllr Robson said Hambleton could also see hundreds of thousands of pounds more funding.

Leading members of Hambleton are set to consider an increase in council tax of £5 on a Band D equivalent property to £109.48.

Cllr Robson said the authority’s council tax demands did not rise in the five years to 2016/17, but since then Government funding had dropped sharply, making further council tax freezes no longer viable.

He said the authority’s low tax rates owed much to its ten-year financial strategy, where other authorities only looked two or three years ahead. He added: “It’s down to prudent management by officers and members.”