Cash strapped Great Yarmouth Borough Council agree council tax freeze for another year

Council tax in Great Yarmouth has been frozen for another year, despite the local authority's ongoing battle with budget cuts.

The decision to freeze council tax for 2013/14 was made by Great Yarmouth Borough Council last night, and means residents will continue to pay an average of £1,502 a year.

The money will be split with £1,145 going to Norfolk County Council, £146 to the GYBC, £200 to Norfolk Police Authority and £10.14 to parish councils.

The Labour-led borough council must find savings of £3.3m a year for three years after seeing its government funding slashed by 19pc - the largest cut to any authority in the country.

Efforts to plug the £10m funding gap began last year when more than 50 members of council staff took voluntary redundancy.

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Speaking last night council leader Trevor Wainwright said: 'We now have a solid plan for a balanced budget by 2015, even with the latest cuts from central government.'

Brian Walker, cabinet member for resources said: 'We have found more than £2.4m of savings within the budget.

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'Staffing costs have been reduced by over £947,000 through a programme of voluntary departures, with 56 staff leaving the council by May 2013.

'Renegotiating the contract with our partner Great Yarmouth Borough services will save a further £760,000.

'And going through the budgets line by line has helped us to deliver even more savings.

'We have done all this and kept the council tax frozen, very importantly, without cutting services.'

The council previously rejected a proposal to merge with Breckland and South Holland councils - a move which would have saved them a further £160,000, saying that restructure is where 'the biggest saving will be'.

Deputy leader of the Conservative group, Councillor Barry Coleman, disagreed, last night calling it a 'foolish' decision.

The meeting also heard the borough's may receive £1.8m through an Efficiency Support Grant – but the money is subject to an improvement in services and a business case being accepted by central government.

'Any additional funding is to be welcomed and we will put the money to good use,' said Cllr Wainwright.

'But it would have been better for Great Yarmouth if this money was part of our core funding.'

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