Council’s cabinet would like to freeze council tax

Graham Plant, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council. Picture: Denise Bradley

Graham Plant, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

Borough leaders are recommending council tax is frozen for a fourth year in a row, amid unprecedented financial challenges from central government.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council's cabinet has considered the authority's budget report for 2016/17 ahead of next week's full council meeting, which will make the final decision about any increases.

If agreed, the council would be one of only three in the county to have held its rates at 0pc, along with neighbouring Broadland and North Norfolk district councils.

South Norfolk is planning to increase its by 3.3pc, Breckland by 2pc, and Norwich City Council by 1.95pc. The decision for West Norfolk is being taken next week.

Council taxpayers in the town will still be faced with increased bills as Norfolk County Council is preparing to ask for 3.99pc more, while the police precept will rise by 1.98pc.

Taken together this will add nearly £50 to the annual bill for a Band D home in the county.

Yarmouth borough council leader Graham Plant said it was disappointing the county council and police and crime commissioner were raising the precept by as much as they are.

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He said he did not think the council should be praising people's bills: 'I don't think they could take the hit.'

Mr Plant revealed the borough council would be able to freeze council tax as they had a £159,000 underspend in the last year, and increasing council tax by 1.75pc would only raise £69,000.

He said: 'It would have been a little bit disingenuous to raise council tax when we have made efficiency savings. We no longer have a chief executive at £1,000 per day. When we asked to share a chief executive and section 151 officer with North Norfolk District Council it meant we are now paying half the price for these positions.'

He said he understood the county council's need to raise bills by 2pc as a levy to pay for health and social care, but added: 'The sad thing is, if the police commissioner and county council had made efficiencies then they may not have had to put council tax up by as much.'

Mr Plant warned the borough council may not be able to freeze council tax in years to come, as the government had factored rate rises into their financial projections for local government budgets.

The final decision will be taken by the full council, which meets at the town hall on Wednesday next week at 7pm.

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