COUNCIL tax is set to go up by almost four per cent in Sandwell.

Sandwell Council’s finance chiefs have unveiled a proposed council tax increase of 3.99 per cent - meaning yearly bills will go up by between £37 to £49.

They said 1.99 per cent of this will fund local services and the other two per cent will help pay for adult social care services - and that the hike will protect frontline services and invest in the future.

This increase would mean an extra 72p to 96p per week in council tax for most Sandwell residents from 1 April 2020.

Councillor Wasim Ali, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for resources and core services, said the proposed budget – which will be discussed by cabinet next Wednesday (February 5) – would put the council in a strong position for the year ahead.

He said: “Although we’re not expecting any government cuts to our funding this year, we’re still running the council with around £180 million less each year than we did back in 2010.

“And demand for our services is getting greater – especially in adult social care, children’s social care and special needs transport. These are challenges for councils across the country.

“So, although we’re not cutting council budgets this year, we have no choice but to put up council tax if we are to protect and fund vital services.

"We have kept the proposed rise as low as can.

“In future, we will have to look at making savings in other areas to make sure we can fund vital services to help vulnerable, disabled, young and older people as demands for these services increase.

“The Government knows councils need help to deliver these services and we are now seeing some money filtering through to help us.”

Councillor Ali said a strong budget meant the council was not only protecting day-to-day services, but also making big investments in exciting projects across the six towns that will benefit Sandwell people for years to come.

From much-needed new housing and school buildings to investment in transport networks, town centres and leisure facilities, there are many positive projects the budget is supporting.

Councillor Ali added: “We’ve just launched our climate change strategy and it’s a real priority for the council – we’re already planting thousands of trees, and we have lots of plans to protect the environment for future generations.

“We also want to make sure money is spent within Sandwell. Community wealth-building is about spending more of the council’s money with local businesses. This supports the local economy, it means more jobs and apprenticeships for local people – meaning more people earning, better spending power and more money going back into the Sandwell economy.”

The budget proposals will be considered by cabinet next week before going to full council on March 10 for a final decision.