County Pleges to Freeze Council Tax

PUBLISHED: 07:19 17 January 2010 | UPDATED: 14:50 06 May 2010

A FREEZE in the largest component of the council tax has been confidently forecast by County Hall. Herts county council leader, Cllr Robert Gordon, has announced that the Conservative-run council will freeze its share of council tax in 2010/11. It means t

A FREEZE in the largest component of the council tax has been confidently forecast by County Hall.

Herts county council leader, Cllr Robert Gordon, has announced that the Conservative-run council will freeze its share of council tax in 2010/11.

It means there will be no increase in cost for services such as schools, roads, social care and fire and rescue provided by the council.

Cllr Gordon said: "We recognise that Hertfordshire's people are having a tough time as a result of the recession. This has led to greater demands on some of our services but we are determined to absorb those additional costs and the extra amount we have to spend to support our ageing population rather than pass the burden on to the hard-pressed council taxpayer."

The tax freeze comes even though Herts received the lowest central government grant of any county council in the country.

The detailed budget will be tabled by cabinet on February 1 and formally agreed by full council on February 23.

Cllr Gordon went on: "I am confident that we will be able to maintain the range and quality of our services, fund the increasing pressures on our budget and once again allocate a record amount for highway maintenance.

"We will also provide substantial funds over the next few years to respond to the dramatic increase in pupil numbers."

He added: "We will need to draw significantly on our reserves to balance the books next year but will be dependant on major savings through the Business Transformation Programme launched before Christmas to hold down the council tax in later years."

A cautious welcome has been given to the council tax freeze by the Opposition Lib-Dem group at County Hall which pledged to ensure that it was not funded by cuts in front-line services.

Group leader and councillor for a St Albans division, Chris White, said they would be seeking major cuts in management overheads, renegotiations of contracts with suppliers, massive cuts in the publicity budget and a freeze on using consultants.

Blob* There are three components to council tax bills with the county council's the largest share by a long way. Smaller precepts are also levied by the Herts police authority and district and parish councils.


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