No Council Tax rise in CWAC budget

COUNCIL Tax payers will not be getting a bigger bill from Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) in the next financial year.

Councillors have pledged to freeze Council Tax but maintain libraries and invest in leisure acoss the area, including setting aside £11million for a culture and recreation centre in Northwich.

Although proposals were agreed to axe 140 jobs, and £3.9million has been set aside for redundancies, councillors from CWAC’s executive group, which met to discuss finances on Wednesday, said they were proud of the budget.

Clr Les Ford, who chaired the meeting, said: “We’re not doing a Manchester or Liverpool City Council, making huge announcements of staff at risk – you’re not hearing that in Cheshire.”

Clr Richard Short said: “There are no libraries in Cheshire West closing and no leisure centres closing down.

“We need to look at this budget in a positive way – all the frontline visible services are being maintained and we are doing it in a more efficient way.

“It’s something that we should be proud of and it’s important for the public to realise that.”

The Council Tax precept for the average Band D property will remain at £1,254.59.

CWAC’s executive agreed with recommendations to earmark £43.4milliion for roads and highway maintenance in the next three years.

The group also approved plans to devote £5million to extra care and short term provision for the elderly, £7.2million for children’s services and £5.1million for adult social care and health.

Councillors said that savings of more than £53million have been made in the past two years, which are helping them meet central grant reductions of £24.1million by 2013, as well as maintaining balances of £20million.

They hope that the 140 jobs will be accounted for by volutary redundancy and redeployment.

Clr Brenda Dowding said: “We’ve got to be as efficient and as effective as possible and if that’s called ‘cuts’ I’m on side.”

The budget will go before full council on February 24 for final approval.

Comments (1)

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3:06pm Thu 10 Feb 11

cwaccwatcher says...

The reality of the situation

The Coalition is keen on freezing council tax so is offering any council that holds steady the equivalent of a 2.5% rise in their budget.

That means any local authority thinking of a rise of 2.5% or less might as well freeze and take the money from the Government rather than the local taxpayer.
In any case, any council will struggle to raise much more than that as the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has said he will cap any council proposing a tax rise of more than 3.5%.

So councils might as well agree to a freeze, and at least get some credit from the local council taxpayer for not putting up the bill even if services are being cut. And councillors may be particularly keen if they are amongst the large number who are up for re-election this May.
The reality of the situation The Coalition is keen on freezing council tax so is offering any council that holds steady the equivalent of a 2.5% rise in their budget. That means any local authority thinking of a rise of 2.5% or less might as well freeze and take the money from the Government rather than the local taxpayer. In any case, any council will struggle to raise much more than that as the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has said he will cap any council proposing a tax rise of more than 3.5%. So councils might as well agree to a freeze, and at least get some credit from the local council taxpayer for not putting up the bill even if services are being cut. And councillors may be particularly keen if they are amongst the large number who are up for re-election this May. cwaccwatcher

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