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Council tax frozen for fifth year

This news article was published more than a year ago. Some of the information may no longer be accurate.

Published: 19/02/2015

The Council’s element of Council Tax in South Gloucestershire is to be frozen for a fifth consecutive year after three-party revenue budget proposals were agreed at full Council tonight (Wednesday 18 February).

A revenue budget of £184.3 million was set for 2015/16, with average council tax for a Band D property remaining unchanged at £1,245.20.*

The freeze in 2015/16, will be followed by a planned two per cent increase in 2016/17 and the years that follow.

The council has been able to freeze council tax for a fifth year due to positive progress with its current savings programme, and a one per cent central government grant.

In addition to the council tax freeze, the budget also includes details of the Council Savings Programme (CSP), which began in 2014/15, with the aim of delivering an additional £36m of savings by 2019/20, which is addition to the £43m saved so far. This level of savings requires significant changes to services in the coming years as the role of the council evolves to meet anticipated reductions in its resources.

The budget was finalised following extensive consultation with residents which included paper and online surveys and Area Forum exercises. Some 1,500 people responded to the consultation.

Respondents were asked to consider which services the council should prioritise in the coming years, with maintaining safe and clean communities (91 per cent) and safeguarding vulnerable children and adults (85 per cent) receiving the highest level of agreement. All core activities were supported by the majority of respondents. The consultation findings were reflected in tonight’s budget.

Consultation respondents were also invited to consider how the council should approach cost-saving measures, with the majority (89 per cent) saying that the council should make more use of its land and assets. 89 per cent of respondents also favoured the council changing working practices to make better use of technology and more efficient ways of working, and 86 per cent supported working in partnership and sharing services with other councils and public sector agencies.

The agreed budget includes arrangements that will allow existing Independent Living Fund recipients to continue to receive the same amount of funding until March 2016, to enable them to make any necessary personal arrangements to move to the new assessment method.

* total Council Tax payable for some residents will rise slightly by inclusion of special expenses and raised precepts.

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