Bradley Stoke Town Council has voted to freeze the precept charge on residents’ council tax bills for the second successive year. The decision, agreed at last Wednesday’s Full Council meeting, sees the charge on a Band D property remain at £113.50 for 2012/13.
Commenting on the freeze, Cllr Roger Avenin (Con, Baileys Court), Chair of the Finance Committee, said:
“We continue to find ourselves in uncertain economic times and many residents’ household budgets are under pressure. As a Council we’re here to support the community and it simply wouldn’t be right to ask hard working families to pay any more this year.”
Councillors are also keen to point out that services aren’t under threat with Town Mayor Cllr Ben Walker commenting:
“We’re not making cuts, we’re still providing for the community; we’re just focusing very hard on doing everything we can as efficiently as possible. Our youth budget for example has been maintained but it has been opened up to a wider variety of organisations than ever before, so we can support a diverse range of activities for young people of all ages.”
The Town Council precept typically represents less than 10% of the total Council Tax bill. The largest proportion, around 80%, is taken by South Gloucestershire Council (SGC), with the police and fire services making up the remainder.
SGC is yet to set it tax requirement for the coming financial year – a decision is expected to be made at its Full Council meeting on Wednesday 22nd February.
The Government is offering a sweetener grant equivalent to a 2.5% increase for Local Authorities that impose a Council Tax freeze but the BBC recently reported that a number of Councils have already announced increases of up to 3.5%.
Footnote: Cllr Walker’s claim that the Town Council’s “youth budget … has been maintained” is at odds with an analysis presented in a recent Journal article. Cllr Walker has been invited to justify his statement.
Photo: Bradley Stoke Town Council in action (May 2011)
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