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'We can't keep freezing council tax with funding reductions' warns council chief Martin Tett, with rise on table for 2014/15
A RISE in the biggest portion of council tax already looks likely for 2014 despite a freeze for the upcoming financial year.
The largest chunk of the money householders pay as council tax goes to Buckinghamshire County Council, which last week ratified no increase in its share for the 12 months from this April.
But Leader Martin Tett has told the BFP around a 1.5 per cent rise is on the cards for 2014/15, as the squeezed authority tries to cope with dwindling funds from Government.
Currently, and up until April 2014, the average Band D household pays £1, 077.74 to the county council. If the 2014/15 rise does eventually happen that will mean these households pay just over £16 a year extra to County Hall.
Cllr Tett said: “We can't go on year after year after year freezing council tax while seeing in real terms the money we get dropping and dropping. We've made massive savings. The year after (2014/15) I think we're going to need to see a very small increase in council tax.
“We're modelling for about 1.5 per cent increase which is way below the going rate for those who are already increasing council tax this year.
“For the average person it's not a lot of money but the principle is important – that we don't take it out now unless we absolutely have to.”
About £45 million of savings have been 'baked in' for the next four years and any rise would be to ensure these do not increase further, Cllr Tett said.
He said the public and councillors were clear from the start they wanted to see no increase tax this year – despite other councils and the police deciding to raise their share.
New Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld has elected to raise Thames Valley Police's portion by £3.08 a year for a band D house in order to recruit nine new officers.
South Bucks District Council have raised theirs by 1.9 per cent and Aylesbury Vale District Council by two per cent.
Cllr Tett said it was not for him to comment on Mr Stansfeld's decision – or that of any other authorities.
But he said: “From our point of view we take very seriously in really tough times that we need to be on the side of residents.
“I've been a resident myself I know it's very easy to look and think 'these guys are just looking after themselves, they're quite happy to put the council tax up, they don't see from our point of view in tough times'.
“I think we are absolutely in tune go with residents on freezing.”
The council qualifies for a one off grant from the Government for freezing the tax.
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