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Council Tax freeze recommended for 2011

John Freeman
There will be no increase in Lancaster City Council’s element of Council Tax next year, if recommendations from the council’s Cabinet are approved.

But the lack of any rise will not help the Council protect services already under threat from massive cuts in government funding and the Council's Liberal Democrat leader warns these will be substantial.

The recommendation to freeze Council Tax rates, made by Cabinet at its meeting on Tuesday, will save residents in an average Band D property around £7.21 over the year, against the previous recommended increase of 3.75%.

Future increases could also be pegged at between 0 and 2% if the Cabinet’s recommendations are approved by Council in March.

Stuart LanghornLancaster City Council’s element of Council Tax makes up 13% of the overall bill. Precepts from Lancashire County Council (74%), Lancashire Police Authority (9%) and Lancashire Fire Authority (4%) make up the remainder.

“This year, the Government has offered to provide funding equivalent to a 2.5% increase to councils that freeze their Council Tax," Coun Stuart Langhorn, leader of Lancaster City Council explains. “This is good news and we’ve recommended that Council take up the offer – but it shouldn’t be forgotten that the Government is also substantially reducing our funding.

“Next year, these reductions look likely to be in the region of £2.4 million – with more to come in future years.

“This will mean real cuts to services," he warns. "The council cannot expect to continue to deliver the same range and standard of services that it currently provides. It also means that those organisations that receive grant funding from us will be hit hard.

“The reality is that this will mean service cuts and we face some difficult decisions over the coming weeks and months as to where the axe will fall.”

The Council's Chief Executive has already warned that Lancaster and Morecambe may lose some of its CCTV coverage as well as its Police Community Support Officers as part of new savings the Council will need to make as government funding cuts bite (see news story).

The final Council budget will be set at a meeting of full Council on 2nd March 2011.

Lancaster and Morecambe Against the Cuts, a coalition of local people is fighting hard to defend public services and jobs in the face of the cutbacks and is holding a public meeting at Lancaster Town Hall on Thursday 18th November.

A campaigning stall in Lancaster's Market Square on a Saturday afternoon between 11.00am and 2.00pm.

More details about the Lancaster and Morecambe Against the Cuts Meeting