Cabinet to consider council tax freeze
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If agreed the proposals will have saved the average household over £50 per year over the two years.
The revenue budget and Council Tax proposals for 2012/13 aim to keep costs as low as possible for local taxpayers, while delivering savings through greater efficiency, reducing duplication and waste and transforming the way that the council works.
The Council Tax freeze would be achieved by taking advantage of a Government grant of £2.8m in 2012/13.
Other key features of this year’s budget proposals include:
Extra funding of £5.6m over the next three years for community care services to meet additional demand
Additional council funding to maintain planned school improvements first set out last year, as well as support for school energy efficiency improvements
Plans to use the district’s New Homes Bonus allocation to support additional investment in infrastructure, protect front line services and support new initiatives in communities that have seen new housing growth
A total of £43m of efficiency and transformation savings to be achieved by 2014/15, of which over £24m over the next three years have already been agreed
The council’s Cabinet is continuing to assure residents that the authority is better placed than many others to deal with its as-expected reduction of government funding.
This is because the council started drawing up plans as far back as 2008 to deal this expected fall in funding and so – over the past year – there has been a continuing reduction of senior management and reviews of support services and how the authority buys goods and services
Executive Councillor for Corporate Affairs John Goddard said: “As a council, we are continuing to rise to the challenge of contributing towards balancing this country’s books and our earlier work in preparing for this has meant that we are much better placed than many other authorities.
Our budget consultation this year showed us that residents and businesses want us to protect frontline services as much as possible while delivering the maximum value for money to taxpayers.
“Our proposals aim to achieve this through a balanced budget that includes a freeze on council tax for a second year, coupled with ongoing efficiency and transformation measures that are set to deliver a further £19m of savings by 2015.
“We also heard loud and clear from local people that schools and caring for the vulnerable are their two highest priorities and our budget proposals do just that.”
This year’s proposals reflect extensive consultation with local residents and businesses. Some 3,000 people have responded to the council’s budget consultation to date, with the majority of respondents (51 per cent) supporting proposals for a council tax freeze in 2012/13 followed by a 2.5 per cent increase the year after.
Other highlights from the consultation include:
The top three services which respondents think the council should prioritise are care for the elderly; schools; and care for the disabled and those with learning difficulties
The majority of respondents (53 per cent) believe the council continues to provide good value for money
The proposals will be considered at a Cabinet meeting on 6 February and then presented to full Council on 22 February.
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