‘It’s not all doom and gloom’ councillors told as Fenland council tax freeze is approved

FORMAL approval to freeze council tax in Fenland was given last night – but coupled with the pledge that “it is not all doom and gloom and we have ambitious plans for this area”.

The upbeat assessment was offered by Councillor John Clark as he presented the 2012/13 budget for approval to Fenland District Council.

Cllr Clark said: “The easy decision would be to increase council tax, especially taking into account the ongoing rise in our council tax base.”

But he told councillors that “you are asked to take the difficult decision and accept the Government’s one-year freeze grant, knowing that this will lead to a �607,000 reduction in our medium-term forecast”.

Cllr Clark said the council had made more than �1million of savings in the coming year and expected to make �832,000 of additional savings in the following two years but he was still optimistic for the longer term.

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The council would live within the budget and face the challenges of next year and beyond but once the economy recovers the ambitious plans for Fenland would be rolled out.

Cllr Clark said: “We will have the resources to deliver those plans and I can assure you I will not be leaving a note for my successor that the money has all gone. This council is recognised for its excellence and punching well above its weight.”

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He added: “The only certainty about the future is its uncertainty. We are in challenging times and this is not an easy process. We will have to make more difficult decisions in the future to produce efficiencies. We will have to be smarter and get better value for money.”

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