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Tax freeze will ease squeeze on families
THOUSANDS of households in Worcestershire can expect a council tax freeze this year, it has emerged.
Wychavon District Council is intending to freeze its rates, a move that is set to benefit 51,000 households in areas including Droitwich, Pershore and Evesham.
It comes despite council leaders admitting the authority is in dire financial straits, with £1 million having to be cut from spending by 2015.
The council tax freeze, for the third year in a row, is being softened by the Government, which is handing over a cash bonus of about £50,000 in return for holding increases at zero.
Councillor Bob Banks, the cabinet member for resources, said: “It is our wish to freeze council tax because we do not want to increase the burden on people. The general thrust is that we’ve been given a lousy funding settlement by the Government, which will affect us very badly, but we don’t intend to increase council tax to make up for it.
“We plan to draw breath and prepare the best we can, while not adding to the pressure households face.
“This will be the third year in a row where we’ve gone for a freeze, and although it’s not without its disadvantages, we believe it to be the right thing.”
The total average band D bill for residents in the Wychavon district is currently £120.07 a month, with the cash being split to the county council, district council, police, fire service and possibly a parish council.
The district council’s income is only eight per cent of the total amount, and works out at £108.44 a year from each band D property.
The freeze is subject to a vote before full council next month, by which time the other authorities will have to make their positions known too.
Wychavon’s funding from central government is being slashed seven per cent in 2013/14 and 15 per cent the following year.
Vic Allison, deputy managing director, said rural authorities had been “unfairly targeted” for cuts and that fresh savings will need to be identified.