Council tax will be frozen in North East Lincolnshire
COUNCIL tax in North East Lincolnshire is set to be frozen for a fourth successive year.
North East Lincolnshire Council is still proposing a zero per cent increase in its budget for 2013-14, despite further budget cuts.
However, the freeze does not include the precepts levied by the police, fire service and parish councils, so residents could still see their overall bills increase.
As previously outlined, the council is being hit by an 8.3 per cent reduction in central government funding from £95.62 million to £87.695 million.
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But council leader Chris Shaw said that after "a lot of soul-searching" the Labour administration had decided not to impose an increase on residents.
NELC will receive a £600,000 grant in return for freezing council tax, but this falls far short of covering the cost of aborting the three per cent increase originally planned, meaning further savings will have to be made.
Councillor Shaw said: "We don't feel it would be right to put the burden on the rate payers, but that means we are having to take more of the pain ourselves.
"These are difficult times for local authorities. At the moment North East Lincolnshire Council is doing fairly well.
"We have been one of the hardest hit authorities in the UK in terms of funding cuts but due to good financial management we have managed to stave off major reductions in our services. But if we carry on getting these reductions from central government I cannot guarantee that we will continue to do so."
However, Councillor Shaw pledged there would not be cuts in opening hours to libraries or children's centres, as there had been in last year's budget.
He added that there had been no major revisions to the draft budget which went out to consultation last month, despite concerns being raised about plans to increase charges of meals on wheels and to cut trading standards staff.
"At the scrutiny meetings one or two members said they were unhappy with certain things but they didn't offer any alternatives."
The budget will go before cabinet on Tuesday and will be set by full council on Thursday.
Cllr Shaw states his intentions over car parking in Viewpoint, page 14.