Council tax is set not to rise for third year

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RESIDENTS are set to see their council tax bills frozen for the third consecutive year.

Ruling councillors on North Lincolnshire Council have announced plans not to increase the levy residents are charged for services, despite local authorities facing pressure on budgets and services because of cash cuts imposed by the Government.

Coun Liz Redfern, council leader and ward member for Axholme Central said: “We are committed to freezing the council tax for the next financial year. It is in response to what local people are asking us to do and is the third freeze”.

Coun Redfern said the ruling Conservative group was also committed to maintaining front line services and creating more jobs through an apprenticeship scheme.

She added: “Since last year we have improved investment in a new library and heritage centre. We will also introduce a further 32 apprentices next year, on the earn as you learn and in partnership with the private sector, which has been given a £3,000 business grant for each one, subject to their employment for three years.

“They will receive a minimum level 2 qualification. We are working hand in hand with the private sector particularly for 16-19 year olds”.

Last year the council saved £750,000 in reductions of senior management positions and £1.5 million on tendering costs.

Coun Redfern said: “We have reviewed jobs with salaries of over £50,000 and cut the use of consultancy from £2.3 million to under £1 million”.

A freeze in recruitment saw a reduction of 20 jobs last year.

Coun Redfern added she expected the council to receive a Government grant of £1.2 million to enable it to keep council tax charges as they are.

Coun Steve Swift, secretary of the opposition Labour group, said: “All efforts to keep council tax at the present levels and therefore implement a zero increase to North Lincolnshire Council’s residents are a must, given the situation the country finds itself in.

“However, maintaining local services is of equal importance and that, unfortunately, is where the present Conservative controlled council has failed miserably.”