South Holland cuts council tax – but police bill raised

COUNCIL tax payers in South Holland will be paying less for their household services.

District councillors have agreed a quarter per cent reduction in their element of the council tax bills for the coming year. This means the charge for a Band D property will be £156.

Lincolnshire County Council has already frozen its portion of the council tax, announcing a Band D charge of £1,065.69. However, the police authority is hiking its charge by 3.96 per cent, representing a Band D charge of £186.39.

South Holland is now in the position of charging less than the police authority.

Coun Paul Przyszlak, portfolio holder for strategic finance and democratic services, said only eight other councils nationally had been able to cut the budget.

He said: “While others are fully occupied in the cutting of services, increasing their discretional charges – slashing and burning as I like to call it – the foresight of South Holland has enabled us to retain all our “customer-facing” services and, in the coming year, reduce our council tax requirement by a quarter of a per cent.

“We have introduced members’ personal budgets that have had a positive enabling effect on our residents – and we have increased grants to outside bodies that will enable the voluntary service to carry on with the work they do.”

The district council’s total budget requirement is £11,780,616, compared to £12,597,818 last year. The figure includes £620,341 for parish precepts and £210,480 for Spalding special expenses.

The reduction has been made possible by the receipt of a revenue support grant, a contribution from the non-domestic rates pool and a council tax freeze grant.

Looking to the future, Coun Przyszlak, who was wearing his “budget” tie especially for the meeting, said there was no certainty of further government subsidies.

Coun Chris Brewis was concerned the council might have to hike its charges next year if there were no subsidies available.

He asked: “Is there a way of ensuring we can keep the services going in difficult times?”

However, leader Coun Gary Porter said although some councils had refused to freeze council tax because of similar concerns, good housekeeping had allowed them to reduce theirs and they were in a very good position to go forward.