Council tax freeze proposed for Breckland

Senior Breckland politicians will be asked to approve a council tax budget freeze next year as the authority battles to protect taxpayers from the impact of government spending cuts.

A budget-setting report will be presented to cabinet members on Tuesday which details how Breckland's finances will be affected by the coalition government's comprehensive spending review.

Despite a headline reduction of 8.9pc announced in October, the report shows that the authority's grant settlement from the government will actually fall by 17.1pc – from �11.3m in 2010/11 to �9.3m in 2011/12.

The report says: 'The headline of 8.9pc maximum reduction was based on a 'revenue spending power' formula which included parish council precepts, and therefore masks Breckland's actual reduction.'

However, the handover of a concessionary bus fares scheme to the management of Norfolk County Council is expected to reduce the 17.1pc figure to 13.8pc.

Next year's calculations include a one-off �55,000 'transition grant' and the first of four �69,800 payments to offset a freeze in Breckland's share of the council tax charge, which is proposed to remain at �64.05 for a band D property.

But as the council will not qualify for the transition grant in subsequent years, the report suggests a 2.5pc rise in council tax for the following four years.

Most Read

Breckland Council only sets its own proportion of the council tax bill, but it also collects amounts set by Norfolk County Council, Norfolk police and town and parish councils.

The government's two-year funding settlement, finally revealed to councils on December 13, shows a further 11.4pc reduction of �1.1m between 2011/12 and 2012/13.

A Breckland spokesman said that as the council's budget had yet to be agreed, no definite decisions could be made on how the authority would seek to mitigate the effects of its reduced income on taxpayers.

But leader William Nunn had earlier stated a commitment to protect front-line services by making efficiency savings within the council.

Central to that strategy is the formation of a joint management structure with South Holland council in Lincolnshire, aimed at halving the number of senior managers.

After the scheme was approved by both councils last month, Mr Nunn said: 'Reducing the number of senior managers across both councils is part of our strategy to cut costs while maintaining front-line services.'