December 10 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, January 24, 2013
A freeze on council tax is on target to be confirmed in north Norfolk next month.
And the cabinet member responsible says it should be possible without any redundancies or major cuts in services.
The council is finalising its budget for the year and a full council meeting has just confirmed some of the groundwork including some changes in council tax benefit support, and the levies on second and empty homes.
A reduction in government support for benefits for the harder up will see claimants having to pay the first 8.5pc of their charge, meaning another £2.45p a week for an average band D payer.
Cabinet member for resources, revenues and benefits Wyndham Northam said it was a better prospect than original fears people would have to pay the first 30pc - but the blow was only softened because of a one-off £100m government transition fund.
It saw North Norfolk District Council get a £22,740 grant and meant the council had to find another £18,000 to cover the new council tax support scheme which had been found elsewhere in the budget, he added.
The latest scheme had been drawn up at very short notice, and it was hoped to come up with a better scheme for next year, said Mr Northam.
The council has also agreed to cut tax relief on second homes which will now have to pay 95pc instead of 90pc.
And the council tax free period on long-standing empty homes had been cut from six months to three as part of a raft of measures tackling the problem of about 400 such properties in the area where lack of housing, particularly affordable, is a major issue.
“The extra revenue will be useful, but more important is trying to bring empty homes back into use,” he added.
The council tax will be set at the next full council meeting on February 27 having been through cabinet on February 4.
Mr Northam said the Conservative-led council was on course to achieve its aim of a nil increase, adding: “We think we can do it without any redundancies or major cuts to services”.