County to freeze its share of council tax

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County council chiefs will be freezing their share of the council tax bill for a second year running despite having to find more than £16m in savings over the coming financial year.

At their budget meeting last week, councillors voted to accept a proposal for a freeze in council tax as part of a budget package including £16.6m in cuts and a £92m capital programme.

The budget agreed will also include a one-off £3.7m grant from the government.

Andrew Tebbutt, the council’s executive member for corporate resources, said: “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.”

A freeze on council tax will mean additional savings of £3.7m will be needed next financial year on top of the £53.4m already due to be cut by 2016.

Councillors have pledged to build on the success of efficiencies that have saved around £101m since 2009 to protect front-line services.

“The decision to accept the government’s tax grant does mean we will need to find additional savings further down the line,” Coun Tebbutt added.

“This will undoubtedly be challenging, but these challenges will have to be met, and the efficiencies required will continue to be made in a planned way.”