DESPITE having to make cuts of more than £100 million over the next four years, county council bosses have agreed on a proposal to freeze council tax for a third year running.
The authority’s cabinet has backed the un-precedented proposals to freeze tax again despite chasing a budget reduction target overall of £27 million.
The next financial year’s targeted savings will mean it is left with £533 million to spend over the 12 months which includes extra funds set aside for a selection of services.
The county council’s leader, Andrew Lewer said: “We understand some residents are struggling to make ends meet and I am pleased that we can again announce zero increase.
“Council tax had never been frozen for two successive years before so, by proposing to freeze it for a third successive year, we are really showing our commitment to supporting residents in tough times.
“The squeeze on public spending to reduce the national debt means tough choices have to be made. We’ve already saved £70m and will save a further £27m over the coming year.
“We will continue to protect frontline services and jobs wherever possible and look at more efficient ways of working to make every penny of taxpayers’ money work for their benefit.
Included in the proposals, which need ratification at full council today, would see some areas of the county council’s budgets increased to meet pressures on services.
Among these, £5.4m will be pumped into adult care, £1.1 million to support children in care and £1.8 million to combat increased landfill charges.
From April the county council will also take responsibility for local health expenditure which will be funded with a ring-fenced grant totalling approximately £35m.
It will also take over responsibility for community care grants and crisis loans, for which the Government has awarded a combined grant of £1.9m.
Around 46 per cent of the county council’s annual net budget comes from council tax.
The remainder comes from central Government which, for the first time this year, used its new ‘fair funding’ formula.