Council tax freeze and lower rent rise than expected for Corby

Corby Council leader Tom Beattie
Corby Council leader Tom Beattie

Corby Council will not be putting up its share of the council tax and the rent rise for the authority’s tenants will be less than the Government recommends.

At a full council meeting on Thursday (February 28) councillors approved the 2013/14 budget, which also allows for £400,000 to be paid into the council’s reserves.

It was thought that £50,000 funding for three PCSOs would have to be scrapped and parking charges introduced at East Carlton park to help balance the budget but both proposals were ditched.

The budget-setting process has taken months and involved meetings with parish councils in the borough, canvassing the views of residents and seminars involving the authority’s officers and councillors.

The £199,000 cut in grant funding from the Government turned out to be £250,000 less than expected, allowing the authority to freeze its share of the council tax and scrap the original proposal for a two per cent increase.

Instead of council house rents going up by the Government-recommended 4.9 per cent, they will now rise by 3.5 per cent, an average weekly increase of £2.80 instead of £4.

Corby Council leader Tom Beattie said: “This is a positive budget for Corby, with no cuts to frontline services, no job cuts and £400,000 for the reserves.

“We have listened to what people had to say and shown that we are an open, transparent and listening council.”

The Conservative group on the council voted in favour of the budget and did not put forward alternative proposals.

Cllr David Sims, leader of the Conservatives, said: “We need to be looking at next year’s budget as we will be facing difficult times for a few years.”

He suggested that next year the council should consider cutting councillors allowances and sharing the post of chief executive with another local authority.

Cllr Chris Stanbra, leader of the Liberal Democrats, put forward his group’s amendment to the budget proposals which would have resulted in savings of £54,500 to be spent on implementing the UK Living Wage of £7.45 an hour at Corby Council.

The proposed cuts included scrapping the borough council’s One Corby magazine and introducing a 50p evening and Sunday charge at the swimming pool car park.

Cllr Stanbra said: “Implementing a living wage would allow the council to take the lead and other enlightened employers in the town would follow suit.”

The amendment was rejected.

Cllr Beattie said: “I am fully in support of bringing in a living wage for the council and when we do bring it forward I look forward to cross-party support.”