Harborough District Council tax freeze for a sixth year

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Harborough District Council is hoping to freeze council tax for the sixth year running.

The news comes despite a reduction of half a million pounds in core funding for the council from central government.

Cllr Phil King, finance portfolio holder for the council, said this year’s planned freeze is possible because of a “rigorous budget process”.

The council has been preparing for reduced Government funding through securing the benefits of housing and business growth via the Government’s New Homes Bonus and business rate retention scheme.

The council’s high level performance in this area continues to partially mitigate the impact of Government reductions. The proposed budget identifies £710,000 of savings in Harborough.

But the freeze in Harborough is offset by the finance news from Leicestershire County Council, who wants to increase its share of the council tax bill by 3.99 per cent, as their “cash crisis” continues.

The county council must save £26 million next year – the highest annual saving it has ever had to make.

The council’s deputy leader and finance spokesman, Councillor Byron Rhodes, said: “This is the most challenging budget that the council has faced for a generation.

“We were already the lowest funded county council – but now the funding formula is shifting even more money away from counties to cities and London boroughs, which hits us even harder.

“We’ll have to take tough decisions such as cuts to early help and public health services and rural bus subsidies, if we are to deliver the savings that we need – and next year will be very tough indeed.”

You can have your say on the Harborough District Council budget for 2016/17, before the deadline of February 7, by visiting www.harborough.gov.uk/consultation

People can have their say on the county proposals at www.leicestershire.gov.uk/budget

The deadline here is midnight on January 25.