A senior councillor has accused his authority of putting up tax and increasing car park charges in order to fund an above inflation pay rise for its staff.

Stuart Dark, leader of the Conservative opposition group at West Norfolk Council, said the salary increases had created extra financial pressure and contributed to what he called a "harsh" budget.

The authority has just voted to put up council tax by 4.99pc while increasing charges for its car parks, as well as weddings and burials.

It follows a decision earlier in the year to give staff - including senior officials - a salary increase of £1,925 or 5pc, whichever was greater.

All workers also received a one-off £750 cost of living payment.

Eastern Daily Press: Stuart Dark, leader of the Conservative opposition group at West Norfolk CouncilStuart Dark, leader of the Conservative opposition group at West Norfolk Council (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Dark said: "The increase to fees and charges right across the board is above the rate of inflation. They have been applied in a broad brush way with little justification of risk.

"This dire budget is likely to have an impact on people's pockets."

Car park charges are to rise between 10-15pc under the plans and people hoping to get married at King's Lynn town hall have seen the fees for Saturdays rise by £238 to £2,500.

The Independent coalition in charge of WNC says the increased charges are necessary to ensure services can continue to be delivered and that the pay rises were justified to ensure highly skilled staff can be retained.

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Eastern Daily Press: Councillor Chris Morley, cabinet member for financeCouncillor Chris Morley, cabinet member for finance (Image: West Norfolk Council)

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Chris Morley, cabinet member for finance, said: "We have delivered a fully funded budget for the next four years which will hopefully deliver a surplus to hand over to the next administration.

"The previous Conservative administration failed to raise fees and charges so we have had to cover the gap caused by inflation.

"In order to retain and attract staff for what are highly skilled positions, we needed to raise wages.

"As a council, we do not want to cut services but then we have to find the money to pay for them."

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Eastern Daily Press: Weddings and receptions at King's Lynn town hall have got more expensiveWeddings and receptions at King's Lynn town hall have got more expensive (Image: Newsquest)

Like other councils, WNC is facing increased pressures on its finances due to rising costs caused by the growing need for temporary accommodation and energy costs.

It has also been particularly affected by more demand for funding for the Internal Drainage Boards (IDB), which combat flooding.

Of the £8m income from council tax the council is to receive, £3m will go towards IDB costs.

The budget plans were passed by members with 28 votes for and 22 abstaining and voting against the move.



  • Council tax is to rise by 4.99pc for a Band D property.
  • A wide range of fees and charges are to increase. This includes higher car park fees at the majority of the car parks run by West Norfolk Council, with costs rising between 10 - 15pc.
  • Funeral services are to rise, with burials going up by £1,000 in King's Lynn and Hunstanton.
  • The cost of waste collection is going up, including bulk waste and commercial recycling.
  • Sports fans will also face higher costs, with tennis court hire, pitch and putt, grass pitch hire and more all increasing.
  • Couples hoping to get married at Town Hall in King's Lynn will have to pay more this year. A weekend wedding ceremony with a reception has risen by £238.