Kettering council tax will be frozen

IT IS ‘as you were’ for Kettering borough residents’ council tax bills in the coming financial year.

While the cost of food, petrol and alcohol may be shooting up, councillors on the borough council have agreed to ease the strain on households by freezing the tax for 2012/13.

And while many may expect the freeze to bring savage cuts to council services, executive member Alison Wiley has pledged their will be no impact on frontline services.

Instead the council is savings £1.3million during the financial year through a range of schemes which include staff-led ideas and an increase in revenue from services.

She said: “This budget means there will be a zero increase in council tax, zero cuts to front line services and zero cuts to voluntary grants.

“During the past year the savings were realised and it is with confidence that we can look forward to the next year’s budget.”

The budget was put together as the Government funding to the council was dropped from £5.5million to £4.8million.

It was made by officers and then agreed by the council’s executive before going before the borough’s full council meeting last week.

It has been now officially approved after the majority Conservative group of councillors all voted for it.

The Labour councillors abstained from the vote.

Labour Cllr Jonathan West said: “I do think there is a lack of vision in this budget proposal.

“I don’t think it is all good news for people of Kettering.

“There is a housing crisis and a lot of unemployment in this town.

“There was an opportunity in this budget to borrow money and help those people.”

Conservative Cllr Phillip Hollbone hit back at cllr West.

He said: “For the second year we are delivering our pledge to local people.

“We listen to what people want and we respond, on that basis this budget has been put together and we have a zero per cent increase.”

Last month deputy chief executive Graham Soulsby and accountant Mart Dickinson gave a presentation on the council tax proposal.

After making savings of £1.9million in the current financial year they said the council needed to save a further £1.3million in the next financial year.

This brings down the council’s annual budget to £12.7million.