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You are here: Home Page > Council and Democracy > Council News > Archived News > February 2012 > Council Tax bills to freeze

Council Tax bills to freeze for residents - again!

Against a backdrop which requires savings of £36million over the next four years Bedford Borough Council has set a budget that will freeze the Borough’s average Council Tax levels after a small reduction last year.

 

To help find the savings needed to balance the Council’s budget following a reduction in central government funding, Bedford Borough Council carried out a full, open and transparent consultation with local residents last year. This helped contribute towards the budget that was agreed at last nights Full Council meeting which has provided £13million of savings while enabling extra investment and support to key services for residents.

 

The Council has also made it clear it wishes to minimise the impact on local residents throughout this period, by freezing Council Tax while striving to protect front line services as much as possible. This has been achieved by identifying further back office savings such as introducing electronic pay slips, removing subsidies for free evening meals and streamlining and improving customer serves.

 

Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “We are facing up to the unprecedented challenge presented by the current financial situation, and have delivered a budget which prioritises front line services and keeps council tax bills down.

 

“This is a budget that protects Children’s centres and libraries, provides major investment in school buildings and delivers vital improvements to our infrastructure areas such as the completion of the Western Bypass. Meanwhile, with the help of local residents, staff and service users we have identified £13million of savings for next year as we work towards achieving the £36million of savings needed over the next four years.

 

“We also want to support local residents during these tough economic times, and we are therefore following last year’s council tax cut with a freeze in the average bill for local households.”

 

Councillor Michael Headley, Portfolio Holder for Finance, added: “We have been clear throughout this process that we are looking to find savings from back office costs as much as possible. That is why we have identified savings, which allow us to save money without impacting directly on local residents. These savings have enabled us to avoid many of the cuts and closures being put forward elsewhere while providing additional support to the most vulnerable.”

 

Key issues from the budget include:

  • A freeze in the average borough element of council tax
  • No additional External Borrowing
  • £0.9 million a year extra for vulnerable children looked after by the Council
  • £41 million to bring improvements to school buildings and facilities
  • Almost £6 million a year to enhance and restore roads and pavements
  • Funds to deliver the final section of the Western Bypass
  • £0.9 million a year extra for support for an ageing population
  • An additional £200,000 a year for adaptations to help people stay in their homes and live comfortably

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