Friday, 13 February 2009

Council Tax increase of 3.99% approved by Cabinet

Council Tax increases for Thanet District Council’s share of the tax will be the lowest for five years, with a rise of just 3.99% increase being proposed.

That would mean an increase for the average household of just £7.83 a year, despite an increase in funding from central government of just 1.1%, which is well below the current level of the consumer price increase, which is the government’s measure of inflation.

As the vast majority of homes fall into bands A * C for Council Tax, that means most people will see a weekly increase in Thanet’s share of the bill of less than 15p per week.

During the course of 2008/09, the council has had to find savings of more than £500,000, after soaring utility and fuel costs and other price rises left the council facing a budget shortfall. A number of posts were held vacant to save costs, while a number of items in the council’s Corporate Plan, which sets out the council’s work plan until 2011, were also removed.

Cllr. Martin Wise, Cabinet Member for Finance, Improvement and Customer Service, said: “Full credit should go to our officers, who have had to work exceptionally hard this year to balance the council’s budget. They’ve done an exceptional job in an extremely difficult environment. Not only have we had to cope with rising costs, but we’ve also seen income drop as a result of the economic downturn. The fact that we’re able to deliver a lower increase in the Council Tax than has been possible over the last five years even in such difficult circumstances, just highlights how closely the council has been monitoring spending. We’ve taken action when it was needed and delivered savings without affecting front line services, but sadly it’s the same story every year. Councils across the country are continually having to deliver better services for less money and we are no exception to that rule.”

The budget will now go forward to a meeting of Full Council on Thursday 26 February.

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