County says its interviews with hundreds of residents gave it Council Tax increase mandate

AS Cambridgeshire prepares for a 2.95 per cent Council Tax rise, details have emerged of the survey of hundreds of people who say they support protecting services and increasing taxes.

Across the county 400 people were interviewed in their homes as part of a massive exercise by the county council to see what people thought of possible Council Tax rises.

Another 415 people were surveyed last September and into October via the web with sampling in equal numbers across Huntingdonshire, East Cambs, South Cambs and Fenland.

In Cambridge the council grilled a “representative proportion of low, middle and high income residents”.

The council also held 156 workshops throughout October as well as speaking with district councils, parish councils and police, fire and health services.

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“The findings show that Cambridgeshire residents would be broadly

content with the budget planned for 2012/13 in last year’s planning round,” says a report to Cabinet.

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“The only shift in the planned budget suggested by the findings is a reduction in

money for supporting families suffering from multiple problems in favour of an

increase in money to support skills development.”

The report concluded there was “strong support for the continuation of children and young people’s services and adult social care budgets at existing levels or as near to existing levels as is affordable”

Residents were questioned about overall satisfaction and the report concluded it was “better than what it was in a similar surveys carried out one and two years previously.

“This may be partly explained by the combination of the respondents’ understanding of how the county council is responding to the national financial context.”

The report adds: “Although on the whole satisfied, and possibly because of their understanding of the county council’s financial challenges, respondents would be prepared to pay the equivalent of a �10 incremental council tax increase (approx 1%) in order to increase investment in services which they prioritised and they

individually wanted.”

The team that conducted the consultation said their methodology – detailed in a 48 page report- enabled them to get a “deeper understanding of the relative

choices between options and the degree of support for an optimum grouping of


One service which residents do not want to see cut is routine road maintenance. In the workshops, there was more support for maintaining and improving transport infrastructure than building new houses or investing more generally in growth.

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