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Newcastle Borough Council to freeze Council Tax

newcastle borough councilNewcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council is planning to freeze its share of Council Tax bills. This is part of the council tax bill that Kidsgorve residents will have to pay.

If the proposal is agreed next month, it would mean an average Band D property would continue to pay the borough council £176.93 from April.

This is the equivalent of just 48 pence a day for the many services the borough provides for residents and comes despite the severe financial pressures facing the council.

Cllr. Mike Stubbs, Cabinet member for finance and resources, said: “We know that many people locally are still feeling the pressures caused by the economic downturn and we wanted to do our bit by not adding to their financial difficulties.

“In our budget consultation a majority of people clearly told us they were prepared to pay extra to safeguard public services locally. We have taken that message very firmly on board and while we are proposing to freeze our part of the Council Tax bill for 2014/15 it is something we will have to keep under review as the annual settlement we receive from the Government continues to go down.”

The borough council has to plug a budget gap of just over £2 million in the next financial year.

This will be achieved through:-

  • Staffing efficiencies including not filling vacant posts - £488,000.
  • Smarter procurement and reductions in supplies purchased - £259,000.
  • Additional income - £158,000.
  • Good housekeeping efficiencies - £181,000.

Another £570,000 will come from retaining additional business rates, reductions in grants and contributions to external bodies and an increase in the number of people paying Council Tax. A further £70,000 is from the Government’s Council Tax Freeze Grant.

Cllr. Stubbs added: “Since 2008/09 this council has been forced to plug budget gaps totalling an incredible £13,270,000.

“Our Medium Term Financial Strategy suggests we have further savings of at least £5,107,000 to make up to 2020. We are going to have to look long and hard at what services we continue to offer the Council Taxpayers of this borough. If you take account of inflation the amount the borough council receives from the Government between 2010/11 to 2014/15 has been reduced by 51 per cent.”

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