THE people of Minehead will face a 2% rise in the town council’s precept in the upcoming financial year.

This equates to about 20p a week or £10 a year for residents of Band D properties.

Minehead Mayor Cllr Tony Berry said: “Because some of the benefits money now has to be taken from councils’ budgets, we received a £49,000 lump sum to offset most of the £53,000 we will lose from our budget as a result.

“I would have preferred to have a standstill on the precept but councillors voted for a 2% rise as a cushion in case we don’t receive the Government grant to offset the changes next year.

“But we are bucking the trend – there are no cuts and we are spending a lot of money on improving the town. We are going to do a lot of work on the recreation ground at Irnham Road, which we have a £100,000 budget for.

“We have agreed to use £8,000 for training and other costs of creating a new grounds maintenance apprenticeship. Hopefully the theory will be provided by West Somerset Community College, which is ideal because it is right in the town.

“£30,000 has just been spent on a new tractor for cutting grass and we have also set aside £50,000 in case we have to take over the running of the toilets in the town, which West Somerset Council says it can’t afford to do.

“So, even though we put the precept up by 2%, we are spending the money for the benefit of rate payers.”

Members of West Somerset Council’s cabinet discussed the district council's budget proposals for the coming year at a meeting yesterday afternoon (February 7).

They agreed to recommend to full council that the authority’s share of council tax be increased by 3.7% for 2013/14.