Council tax to be frozen as authority looks to save £24m

COUNCILLORS have agreed to freeze council tax payments for the third consecutive year despite needing to save nearly £24m for the 2013/14 financial year.

Officials at Northumberland County Council agreed at a meeting yesterday (Wednesday) to freeze its share of the council tax bill.

It means that the council tax for Band D properties will be set at £1,372.49, excluding any precepts set by parish or town councils and the police precept.

Coun Andrew Tebbutt, executive member of corporate resources, said: “Despite the very poor financial settlement Northumberland has received from central government once again, and concerns over future government cut backs, we have managed to protect services, jobs and local residents.

“The council understands that many people are facing a squeeze on their finances and that household budgets are under great pressure.

“It is a difficult time for everyone financially and we feel it is important to do all we can to make life easier for residents.”

The council also approved a £314m medium term financial plan, which will see investment in schools, transport, broadband, affordable housing, street lighting and more, over the next three years.

But the authority is still looking to save £23.6m in the financial year through increased efficiency, re-negotiations of contracts and reorganisation of council services.