Council tax frozen for third year in a row
NORTHUMBERLAND County Council will be freezing its share of the council tax bill for a third consecutive year despite the authority having to find £23.6m of savings over the coming financial year.
At a meeting of the full council on Wednesday, members voted to accept the proposal for a freeze in council tax. As a result, the council tax for Band D properties will be set at £1,372.49, excluding any precepts set by local parish and town councils and the police precept, which is due to be set by the end of this week
The move is one that is being followed by many other types of council across the country. The Government has put subsidies in place to encourage councils to freeze their taxes and it means those councils that freeze their council tax will receive a grant equivalent to a 1% increase in council tax for two years only.
Councillor Andrew Tebbutt, executive member of corporate resources at Northumberland County Council 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. This has been achieved for 2013/14 but continued Government financial restraint will undoubtedly make this far more difficult in future years.
“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.
“We are one of the few authorities in north east England to fully protect those working age people claiming council tax benefits from the Government’s proposed cuts. We have done so because we believe they are the least able to cope with the current financial pressures.”
The authority’s medium term financial plan, which outlines more than £314m capital investment in local projects over the next three years, also received the green light at Wednesday’s meeting. It pledges continued investment in schools, transport, broadband, affordable housing and street lighting.
However the authority still has a major financial challenge ahead and has to find £23.6m savings over the next financial year and £85.9m by 2016.
The majority of the savings needed by the council will come from increased efficiency, re-negotiations of contracts and reorganisation of council services.
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Weather for Berwick-Upon-Tweed
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 5 C to 9 C
Wind Speed: 25 mph
Wind direction: North west