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Herefordshire Council freezes council tax for second year

Herefordshire Council has approved a council tax freeze for 2012/13 which means council tax levels will remain frozen for the second year running.

Earlier this year council approved a budget based on the authority taking government funding being made available to councils willing to hold down levels of council tax.

At today’s meeting of council - Friday, March 2 - councillors set a council tax that includes taking  advantage of this one-off government grant offered to councils willing to freeze council tax in 2012/13.

For Herefordshire this means accepting government funding totalling £2.16m.

As a result, a band D property owner will pay £1,205.09 in council tax this year – the same as during the last two years.

“This is good news for local people,” said Cllr John Jarvis, leader of the council. “We know that many families in the county are struggling to make ends meet and, just like them, we’re having to reduce our spending and work more efficiently to continue to provide the quality services people in the county expect from us.”

Council members heard that, by using the government grant wisely, the authority will be able to secure savings year on year.

This will be over and above the more than £20 million savings Herefordshire Council has made during the last two years which kept it within the government’s funding requirements and allowed council tax levels to stay at 2010/11 levels for the second consecutive year.

The agreed budget includes an extra £1.4 million from central government be put into the adult services budget for the next financial year, which will be in addition to £2.2 million from the NHS to support care activity. This means that overall there will be extra funding for care services.

However the scale of the challenge arising from the government’s deficit reduction programme means that all parts of the council will have to make contributions to meeting the savings requirements.