February 1 2015 Latest news:
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Broadland District Council tonight (Thursday) agreed to freeze its share of the council tax.
But officers have warned future hikes are “inevitable”.
And while the council is not planning cuts to services or staff they have had to take money out of reserves to protect them.
Defending these actions Paul Carrick, finance portfolio holder at the council, said it was not “wrong” to use the money in this way.
But council officers have warned that future council tax increases or changes in service delivery will “almost inevitably be required in a few years time”.
Mr Carrick said: “Some may see using reserves in this way as wrong but I cannot see anything wrong with that as it is part of our financial strategy and it is in our plan.
“I do not know what the government has in store but we will have to take it on the chin whatever happens.”
Out of the 2014/15 reserves Broadland District Council plan to use £172,000 and the long term plan will see £4.3m used from reserves between April 2014 and March 2019.
Mr Carrick said: “There is no doubt that the financial climate for local authorities is grim. We are all having to play our part and do things differently. I don’t think that’s come as much of a surprise.
“Believe it or not, this is the fifth year when the budget rate of £111 has been frozen.”
Broadland District Council’s decision to freeze council tax again this year means residents will pay an average of £1,526 per annum (Band D). While the district council’s portion is frozen at £111.15, other precepts, such as some parishes have increased, and Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett is increasing the police precept by 1.97pc.
South Norfolk Council’s cabinet also agreed a council tax freeze, the fifth time in six years, and Norfolk County Council agreed to freeze its share in the tax.
But Norwich City Council is increasing its share by 1.95pc.
The government has said a proposed increased of 2pc or more would have to go to a referendum.
• Do you think Broadland District Council is right to freeze its share of the council tax? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.