March 11 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Council tax payers in south Norfolk will not be hit by an increase in their bills for the sixth time in seven years.
South Norfolk Council agreed to freeze its precept at £130.68 for Band D properties for the fourth consecutive year at a meeting on Monday, which the council’s leader John Fuller said represented a 25pc cut in real terms.
In his speech to the council, he said: “And we’ve pulled the remarkable achievement, not just of freezing council tax again, which is good in itself, but doing it in such a way that the economies we’ve had to make haven’t resulted in ‘cuts’ that the public would notice.
“In fact, quite the reverse, as we’ll see shortly, by growing income, investing in the tools required to strengthen our council and empowering staff working as teams rather than working as individuals in every corner of the council, service levels have improved in the face of extraordinary headwinds.”
He said he was not aware of another council in England that had been able to freeze council tax for such a sustained period, adding that not only had tax rates been frozen, but the level of reserves had increased at the same time.
He explained the council had achieved the freeze by maintaining critical capacity and running services in-house and managing the cost while investing in the core business for income and quality.
However, he also said the council recognised it could not do it all itself and shared services with neighbours where expedient.
Bin collection was one area where the council had been able to provide efficiency savings, while also investing in a new fleet of lorries, Mr Fuller added.
He said the annual cost per household of waste collection had fallen from £43 to less than £30.
He also highlighted a Medium Term Financial Plan which suggested that not only could further freezes take place over the next three years, but these were actively being planned for.
Mr Fuller added: “We are living within our means and other councils are looking up to us in the way we deliver our services.”