Council tax freeze for Corby residents and council will spend £5m on town improvements

The shopping parade at Studfall Avenue may be in line for a revamp. Councillors are being asked to make suggestions to officers about where money should be spent.
The shopping parade at Studfall Avenue may be in line for a revamp. Councillors are being asked to make suggestions to officers about where money should be spent.

Corby Council has agreed a tax freeze for residents in what is most likely its last ever budget.

The authority decided on Wednesday night (Feb27) to keep its tax levy for services the same for residents, meaning that anyone living in a band D property will continue to pay £189.50 a year.

The council has in recent years built up its commercial property portfolio, which this year has made £1m.

Council leader Tom Beattie told fellow councillors at the meeting: “The 2019/20 budget is extremely positive for the council in the current climate and continues to build on the success of our strong financial leadership.

“It is a budget in which we are contributing to reserves and deciding over which growth proposals we should include rather than which services or posts we need to cut back on.

“This is largely due to a combination of factors including the difficult decisions we have previously taken, our pursuit of a growth agenda and more recently our commercial approach to investment properties.

“In the past year or so we have invested heavily in commercial properties and these ventures have generated over £1m a year of net surplus to the general fund. This is after allowing for an annual repayment of the borrowing.

“We have now had austerity for almost nine years and while continued Central Government funding cuts and the impact of the recession have continued and will continue to place significant strain on local government finances, our commitment to growth and investment allows the budget for 2019/20 to protect front line services, and allow a contribution to reserves.”

The authority is spending £5m of its £10m reserves on projects across the town including revamped shopping parades and new play areas. It is doing his before its fund will go into a central pot with Kettering, Wellingborough and East Northants councils’ cash when the new north Northants unitary comes in in 2020.

The secretary of state has yet to make a final decision, but as the unitary was the suggestion of central government, it is strongly reckoned it will happen.