Lincolnshire County Council freezes council tax

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Lincolnshire County Council has frozen its share of the council tax for the third consecutive year.

The decision was made as the authority sets its budget for 2013/14 at a full council meeting today (Friday).

Councillors have pledged to protect essential services, find sensible efficiencies and invest for the future.

Coun Kelly Smith (Con), executive member for finance and human resources, said: “This is a difficult time for everyone financially, and we feel it’s important to do all we can to make life easier for our residents. That’s why we decided to take the unprecedented step of freezing our share of the council tax for the third year running.

“Over the last two years the council has found savings of around £80m, while also protecting priority services, like child protection, the fire service, and road maintenance. We also have plans in place that will bring a further £45m of savings over the next two years.

“At the same time, we continue to invest in major infrastructure projects, such as the Grantham relief road and superfast broadband, which will pave the way for renewed prosperity in Lincolnshire.

“However, the Government has made it clear that more needs to be done if we’re going to get the country back on track. With that in mind, we’ll be drawing sensibly on our reserves over the next couple of years while we plan the best way to make further efficiencies.

“Having said that, it’s important that everyone pulls their weight, and that Lincolnshire isn’t asked to do more than its fair share. Rural authorities like Lincolnshire still do not receive the same level of overall funding as urban areas. So the council will continue to call for a fairer deal for local residents.”

The freeze in council tax was made possible thanks to an additional Government grant.

South Kesteven District Council will set its budget on Friday next week. It is proposing to increase its share of the bill by £5 for a Band D household.

Lincolnshire Police will increase it’s share of council tax by two per cent.

Rutland County Council approved a council tax freeze on Monday.