Borough Council freezes its council tax for another year
Published Friday, 21 February 2014
THE Borough Council has ‘frozen’ its charge for council tax for 2014/15.
The decision was taken at a full meeting of the council on Thursday night (20 February) and means that the council tax, already the tenth lowest of all councils in England, will have remained at the same level for four consecutive years - £95.96 per year for an average ‘Band D’ property.
This will be supplemented by the charge for the parish councils, Leicestershire County Council, Police and Crime Commissioner and the Fire Authority.
Despite a further 13.37% reduction in core Government funding for the coming year, the council has been able to set a balanced budget, without hitting frontline services and maintaining acceptable levels of balances and reserves - an essential requirement in ensuring ongoing financial health.
Looking ahead, however, the council has acknowledged that even more savings will be required from 2015/16, because of further austerity measures from the Government. In addition, the council will be affected by the County Council’s budget position and the changing position on New Homes Bonus and business rates appeals.
Commenting on the position, Sanjiv Kohli , the council’s Deputy Chief Executive Responsible for Finance, said:
“The budget position becomes increasingly challenging each year with our core funding from central Government having been reduced by a further 13.37%."
"We have managed once again to achieve a balanced budget for the forthcoming year by making further efficiency savings in back office services and by using our savings; however, we anticipate that in 2015/2016 it will become increasingly difficult to deliver a balanced budget whilst freezing council tax, without any impact on services."
"This is because of further government cuts of around 15% in 2015/16 and the pressures of reduced direct and indirect funding from the County Council; which will start impacting on us from 2015/16 onwards. We will, however, continue to be proactive in financial planning and have already commenced work on identifying new and efficient ways of working to reduce costs and encourage additional income.”
The Borough Council’s Executive Member for Finance, Councillor Keith Lynch, paid tribute to the work of the Finance team and other service areas in achieving a balanced budget.
Commenting on the decision he said:
“Whilst the position for 2014/2015 is positive, I must highlight that the financial outlook for this council from 2015/2016 is challenging. Given this position, I will be urging all Members over the forthcoming year to work with officers to identify ways in which we identify savings, additional income and different ways of working to ensure that services can continue to be delivered to the very high standards on which this council prides itself”.
The Leader of the Borough Council, Stuart Bray, added that the budget
“Provides further evidence of how well the council's resources are managed, despite the continued reduction in funding from central Government."
"We know that we now face a double threat from April 2015 - further cuts from Westminster, compounded by fairly significant reductions proposed by Leicestershire County Council to meet its need to find savings from 2015/16 and beyond. We know that these are likely to affect recycling, support to children and vulnerable adults and funding for the voluntary sector.”
“Officers are predicting that, yet again, we will have worked within our budgets for 2013/14 and will produce an under spend to put into reserves to help meet the significant further demands on continuing to deliver first class services to our residents.”
Last updated: 21/02/2014 10:07
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