Budget-jugglers to be helped by Fenland council tax freeze

Political News from the Fenland Citizen, fenlandcitizen.co.uk, @FenlandCit on Twitter
Political News from the Fenland Citizen, fenlandcitizen.co.uk, @FenlandCit on Twitter

Fenland District Council is set to freeze its share of Council Tax for the coming year.

The budget report going to next week’s Cabinet and full council recommends no increase – a change from the original proposal, which suggested a rise of 1.9 per cent.

It says that not going ahead with that increase would reduce the council’s Council Tax income by about £126,000. But this would be partly offset by a Government grant equivalent to a 1 per cent increase that is available to local authorities who decide on a freeze.

In Fenland’s case, that amounts to about £76,000, the report says: “Therefore, the overall reduction in resources in 2014/15 as a result of not increasing Council Tax is £50,000.” It adds that the shortfall will be funded from the council’s General Fund.

The report also says that the medium term financial forecasts show that the Government’s continuing squeeze on public expenditure means that “significant savings” of about £1.2 million are needed over the next two years.

Councillor Michael Humphrey, Fenland District Council’s Cabinet member responsible for finance, said: “Like all local authorities, for some time now we have been having to cope with big cuts in our budget and that continues to present us with some really tough challenges and decisions.

“However, we recognise that these are hard times for everyone in our community and freezing our share of Council Tax is one way we can help. Obviously, that put more pressure on us as an organisation but we feel it is the right thing to do at this time.”

If the recommended freeze is approved at this week’s full council meeting, it would mean that the Band D level for FDC services would remain £245.61.