West Norfolk Council set to freeze annual tax bill

Car parking charges in King's Lynn, Hunstanton and Downham Market also remain unchanged for the coming year

West Norfolk Council is set to freeze its element of the annual tax bill for another year, along with car parking charges and the cost of using leisure facilities in the borough.

It is the second year the council has not increased its element of council tax and the county council has also not implemented a rise. But Norfolk police has raised its precept by 3pc, so the final amount will rise by around 11p a week for a band D property, depending on any parish or town council bills.

Members of West Norfolk Council are due to discuss the financial report at a meeting tonight when their level of allowances are also set to remain unchanged for another year. A new role of assistant to the leader will be created, with �870 in allowances allocated to the position.

The borough council's element of the total council tax bill received by each household has risen by a total of 3pc since 2005.

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'Very few authorities can match the record of the council and many still have difficulties in dealing with the budget for the current year yet alone future years. The council's early actions has provided it with breathing space to properly consider measured and well managed changes to services as necessary,' says a report which goes before full council tonight.

The council has a total budget of �17.7m for the next financial year.

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'Our approach to reducing costs has proved extremely effective and we have saved around �5.2m against our previous budget projections for 2013/2014. This gives us the opportunity to freeze council tax for next year 2012/2013 at current levels and yet still show a balanced budget,' said leader Nick Daubney in his report.

Members of the council will be told that the period from 2010 to 2014 'remains the most difficult period since the council came into being in 1974 in terms of containing levels of spending whilst maintaining services to residents, businesses and visitors to the borough.'

'Our cost-reduction programme will continue and further savings are in the pipeline from our joint work with North Norfolk District Council in respect of our Revenues and Benefits Service and our waste collection service,' said Mr Daubney

'We will continue to help support the local economy by working closely with businesses and retailers on initiatives that will help ensure that the area remains a vibrant commercial hub.'

The 2010-2014 time frame coincides with the coalition government's drive to reduce spending with its grant to West Norfolk Council reducing by around 30pc.

'Very few authorities can match the record of the council and many still have difficulties in dealing with the budget for the current year yet alone future years,' says the report.

Cambridgeshire County Council has approved a 2.95pc rise while Fenland District Council, covering the Wisbech and March area is due to recommend a bill freeze on Thursday, March 1. Cambridgeshire police's precept will rise by 2.92pc.

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