LABOUR say they have identified savings that mean Bromsgrove’s council tax can be frozen this year to help struggling families.

Residents face a 2.19% increase in council tax – equivalent to £5 extra – under current budget proposals.

But Labour says any rise is unacceptable given the financial hardship that the pandemic has caused for thousands of local people.

Instead they say they can easily find the money needed to avoid the increase.

The planned increase would bring in an extra £181,000 a year, but Labour Leader Councillor Peter McDonald says £100,000 can be saved by halting the use of a planning consultant; and £65,000 can be recouped by moving some staff back from Redditch town hall.

He says that would leave just £16,000 to come out of the council’s reserves of £4m.

“What are reserves for but for use in times of hardship?

“There are people in Bromsgrove in fuel poverty, people using foodbanks, people facing rising utility bills.

“To say it's just £5 is weasel words. There are people who cannot afford an extra 5p, let alone £5.

“A Council Tax Freeze is a must with thousands of Bromsgrove residents facing unemployment when furlough ends and struggling now to pay their bills.

“Labour’s alternative budget will maintain services while at the same time ensuring that there is a council tax freeze recognising the financial hardship thousands of residents are facing.”

The budget is being discussed by the council tomorrow night (Wednesday) and can be viewed via YouTube.