Number crunch on council tax

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A freeze on Central Beds Council’s share of the overall council tax bill is proposed for the fourth year running.

That would mean the annual charge for its services would remain at £1,308.33 for 2014/15 for average band D households.

But that’s just part of the overall council tax bill.

The Central Beds authority takes the lion’s share of the final council tax tally.

But the bill will also include other charges, from town or parish councils and for police and fire services.

On February 20, Central Beds Council will be asked to approve the executive committee’s recommendation for no increase in the authority’s council tax share.

Executive councillors are recommending a plan which involves investing more than £186 million on services in the next financial year.

Those wide-ranging services include fostering and adoption, libraries, leisure, roads maintenance, social care and waste management.

The authority says it is facing significant cuts in grant funding from central government.

To balance the budget, the plan includes £17 million worth of savings.

Spending would include:

> £63 million on adult social care, health and housing services.

> £45 million on children’s services, including fostering, adoption, children’s centres and protecting those who are vulnerable and in need.

> £34 million on community services, including waste, leisure and highways.

The rest of the spending would go on services such as planning, regeneration, countryside access and public health, and running costs.

Savings would come from renegotiated contracts, income generation, use of technology and transforming how services are provided.

Council leader James Jamieson said: “Delivering value for money to our local residents has been a priority for us since the council was created in 2009.

“We’ve achieved a great deal since then, having taken some £60m off our annual running costs.

“But times remain tough for our residents.

“In our budget consultation, 70 per cent of respondents felt that we should continue to freeze council tax and avoid reductions to current services as much as possible.

“And that is exactly what we intend to do.”

The council also plans to invest in assets including roads and leisure services.