Norwich City Council agrees council tax freeze
Families in Norwich will see no increase in the share of the council tax they pay to City Hall next year after the authority agreed a freeze.
But �5.9m worth of cuts and savings will have to be made which will see the closure of some public toilets, fewer trees planted and an increase in burial costs.
The Labour-controlled council pushed through its �20.7m general fund budget, including a council tax freeze, despite a Green proposal to hike council tax by 3.3pc, which would have seen families pay about 11p extra a week.
The money raised through the Green proposal would have restored tree planting and pumped money into the council's stretched benefits team.
But that was defeated, along with a Liberal Democrat proposal to slash the council's bill for the top 64 managers and its communications budget to reverse the toilet closures, peg back plans to increase burial costs and restore tree-planting.
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Alan Waters, deputy city council leader, said one of the reasons for planning no increase in City Hall's share of the council tax was that the authority had successfully clawed back �1.1m from HM Revenue and Customs after making a claim that it should not have had to pay VAT on trade waste collections.
That meant extra cash could be ploughed into reserves, giving the authority a little more room to manoeuvre. Councils are also being given a one-off grant by the government for freezing council tax, equivalent to a 2.5pc increase, which is just over �230,000 for the city council.
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But Mr Waters warned: 'From next year we will have to pump in three quarters of a million pounds into reserves each year because austerity is going to continue. Council-tax levels after next year are very difficult to predict and we will be pressing for a better system of local government financing.'
The council tax freeze means the share which will go City Hall from a Band D property in Norwich will be �225.87.
Council tax bills for people in Norwich are made up of portions which go to the city council, Norfolk County Council and Norfolk police.
Norfolk County Council agreed on Monday last week to freeze its share of council tax. Norfolk Police Authority agreed yesterday to increase its portion by 3pc.
People covered by Broadland District Council, such as Hellesdon, Sprowston and Thorpe St Andrew, will find out tomorrow whether the authority will freeze its share, while South Norfolk Council, which people in areas such as Costessey, Hethersett and Cringleford pay bills to, is likely to agree a freeze today.
What do you think of the city council's plans? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email firstname.lastname@example.org