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Council tax frozen for Cheshire East services
CHESHIRE East bosses have pledged to freeze Council Tax for the next two years.
In his report to the cabinet, Council Leader Michael Jones has revealed that tax will not be increased for the third year running or in the following tax year 2014/15.
He has also committed to delivering balanced budgets for the next three years despite reductions in Government grants and increasing cost pressures.
Crewe taxpayers living in band D homes will again pay £1,216 but that does not include the town council precept and contribution to the police and fire service.
It is being made possible with a new strategy including a shake-up of the council’s management structure which will save £5million by 2015 and a £12.6million Council Tax freeze grant.
The freeze over the next two years is said to be worth £470 to the average taxpayer.
Clr Jones said: “Hard-pressed, hard-working local people and families can be confident that we are on their side and that they can rely on us in these uncertain times to create greater prosperity for the whole of Cheshire East.”
The borough council is also in the process of freeing up millions of pounds by cutting the number of facilities it operates.
Plans for economic growth will focus on a £220million capital programme aiming to facilitate the creation of 27,000 new homes and £25million will be invested on the 1,700-mile road network.
There will also be a big push to promote the authority’s 14 leisure centres as it is believed more energetic lifestyles could reduce health costs by £1million.
Clr Jones added: “The three-year financial strategy is based on taking some tough decisions in difficult times to ensure a good quality of life for the people of Cheshire East.
“We recognise that if we are to realise our ambitions to make Cheshire East a better place to live, work and do business, we need a new financial strategy that will make the best of our limited resources and provide real value for local people.”
The finalised budget report will go before councillors for approval on February 28.
The key elements of the Cheshire East three-year financial strategy are:
● Lifting the tax burden – no increase in Council Tax this year and next.
● Giving better value for money – cutting out millions of pounds of unnecessary costs without affecting essential frontline services
● Reducing management overheads and improving productivity – seeing the council’s wages bill reduce by at least 20 per cent
● ‘Sweating’ our assets – disposing of ‘unwanted assets’ to free up millions of pounds
● Growing the economy – capital programme of more than £220million, investing £25million in the road network and putting in the infrastructure for 27,000 new homes
● Getting a better deal – entering into better contracts for goods and services
● Retaining facilities at the heart of communities – devolving more services and assets to the local level and new arrangements for running our 14 leisure centres to promote healthier lifestyles
● Protecting the vulnerable and the elderly – reshape the local provision of social care to reduce reliance on placements outside the borough and help people to live independently for as long as possible
● Showing that ‘prevention is better than cure’ – invest more in improving early intervention for both vulnerable children and adults
● Protecting the rights and entitlements of learners – the council will act as ‘guardian’ of the interests of pupils, students and parents - protecting the vulnerable and ensuring standards are monitored and maintained
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