14 Jan 2015
Members of Aylesbury Vale District Council’s cabinet have agreed to recommend a freeze in council tax in 2015/16.
The cabinet confirmed that the district council element of the bill will remain at just £2.62 a week for an average Band D property despite the ongoing and severe reductions in government grant.
By not increasing council tax AVDC will receive a council tax freeze grant equivalent to a council tax rise of one per cent.
The council expects a further five years of cuts in public spending over the life of the next parliament. This will see its government grant being cut to zero, a reduction of £13 million since the cuts began in 2010.
Even though it will have lost 60 per cent of its funding, the council is well placed to meet the challenges ahead.
AVDC has a good track record of delivering budget efficiencies and new income streams, already achieving savings of more than £11 million over the last five years.
It is the delivery of these savings that has allowed the cabinet to make the recommendation not to increase council tax for 2015/16, demonstrating its commitment to support residents.
The budget proposals recommended by cabinet meet the ongoing financial challenges facing the council and local government generally, and are based on making sure financial savings continue to minimise the impact on frontline services, while continuing to increase efficiency.
Councillor Neil Blake, Leader of the Council, said: “Over the past five years the council has worked hard to absorb £11 million of budget pressures and cuts in government funding while minimising the impact on frontline services. Despite this challenge, I am pleased to say that we are in a position to deliver a balanced budget and to recommend no increase in council tax. This has been achieved through careful financial planning, effective management of our resources and generating new income.
“There is no doubt that the council faces an enormous financial challenge in the future and difficult decisions will need to be made over the next few years. While good progress has been made to identify areas where we can make further savings, there is still a lot of work to be done.”
A final decision on the budget proposals and the amount of council tax collected for AVDC services – which accounts for only nine per cent of residents’ total council tax bill – will be made by full council on 4 February. The recommendation will set the AVDC share of the council tax for an average Band D property at £136.35 a year, the equivalent of £2.62 a week.
The district council provides a wide range of services including housing, planning, recycling and waste, economic development, council tax and housing benefit, licensing and building control.