Council Tax for Fenland set to rise by less than two per cent as cuts continue to be made
- Credit: Archant
Householders across Fenland are facing a rise in their Council Tax bills if recommendations by the district council’s cabinet are rubber stamped.
A report to Thursday’s cabinet recommended an increase of 1.9 per cent, which equates to around £5 for the year for Fenland’s portion of the Council Tax bill.
Full Council will have to approve the recommendation when it meets in January with the final budget being set in February following consultation.
The draft report on the council’s medium term financial strategy explained Central Government has limited the amount Council Tax can rise without local authorities facing financial penalties to two per cent for 2014/15 which is likely to be the case for the forthcoming financial year.
To increase bills by more than this amount the council would have to hold a referendum of householders.
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The report also outlined the amount of savings the council has been forced to make as a result of a cut in the government grant given to Fenland, which was reduced by £1.106 million or just under 16 per cent. Further cuts are expected in 2015/16.
Fenland Council has managed to save £776,000 of the original savings target of £1.005million for this year and the remaining £229,000 has been identified but not yet implemented.
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There is also a projected under-spend which means the council will not have to use money from its balances, which had previously been allocated.
But it is also predicted the council will have to make further savings of around £1.724 million between 2015/16 and 2018/19 - although the exact amount will not be known until the next government Spending Review, which is due in autumn 2015.
The report, written by Rob Bridges, the council’s Corporate Director and Mark Saunders the Chief Accountant, states: “Given the scale of the challenges faced by the council, the financial forecasts represent a considerable achievement and demonstrates the focus from officers throughout the council delivering the required savings. The council continues to focus on delivering quality services and to minimise the impact on frontline services.”
It points out the council’s strategy of identifying cuts 12 months in advance has helped meet targets and means Fenland is in a good position to meet the challenges of 2015/16 and beyond.
Savings have made by introducing “significant organisational efficiency changes” to various departments including environmental services, human resources, ICT, legal services, markets and events and there are on going changes being implemented in accountancy, customer access, environmental health and post and reprographics.