MOST council tax bills in Sandwell will rise by at least £65 this year.

Sandwell Council said council tax bills for households in band A and B – which equates to around three-quarters of the borough – would pay between £65 and £76 from April.

This includes council services but also contributions to West Midlands Police and West Midlands Fire Service.

Sandwell Council has decided to increase its majority share of the precept by the maximum permitted five per cent with taxpayers in band A households having to hand over an extra £65 with others in band B households paying £76 more.

The cost of policing would rise by £8.67 and £10.11 for the same band A and B households in Sandwell with the yearly precept for West Midlands Police rising to £143.70 and £167.65 respectively. 

West Midlands Fire Service has also increased the amount it asks from taxpayers towards services – with the yearly cost totalling £50.13 and £58.49 for band A and B homes. This means the yearly price for its services rises to £50.13 and £58.49 respectively.

Band D households in Sandwell will pay an increased £2,027.83 a year from April – an extra £97.74 on last year’s £1930.09 bill.

The council tax increases across the borough come at a time when Sandwell Council, West Midlands Police and West Midlands Fire Service are all facing significant budget issues.

Sandwell Council faced a battle to plug a £19m gap in its finances this year with millions cut from service budgets slashed across the authority.

West Midlands Police revealed it was also making £10m cuts in this year’s budget – admitting that its planned council tax rises would still not tackle its inflation and budget problems.

The move also comes as West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Simon Foster prepares to take the Home Secretary to court over plans to scrap his role and transfer his power to the West Midlands mayor Andy Street.

Earlier this month, the government confirmed it had agreed to transport the PCC’s powers – which includes appointing the chief constable, setting police objectives and drawing up the force’s budget – after May’s mayoral elections.

West Midlands Fire Service plans to cut £1.9m and use £1m of its reserves to plug gaps in its finances this year and revealed it would have to find another £1.9m again to cover next year’s gap.