Authority announces council tax freeze

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Lincolnshire County Council has revealed that it will freeze its council tax precept for a fourth consecutive year and still make savings.

The 2014/15 budget proposal, which will be voted on by full council on February 21, has only set out a one year plan due to uncertainty associated with local government funding beyond 2015 - a three year plan would normally be proposed.

LCC will be forced to bridge a gap between funding available and council spending by the amount of £12 million. This will come from council reserves.

Alternatives to the recommendation made in the report, which will be considered by the council but are unlikely, include increasing spending and therefore council tax, or lowering levels of spending and cutting council tax.

The proposal stated: “The recommended option reduces the council’s spending 
to reflect reducing government grant income to the council.

“It allows for a freeze in council tax in 2014/15 and funding of the equivalent of a 1 per cent increase in council tax by way of Council Tax Freeze Grant.

“The savings identified from the council’s ‘Core Offer’, the additional savings added into 2013/14 and 2014/15 budgets, plus the one off use of reserves in these two financial years, have ensured the council is well placed to withstand the immediate pressures in local government funding.

“However, future challenges remain and significant further savings will need to be identified in future years to deliver a balanced budget.”

The ‘Core Offer’ referred to in the proposal relates to the final year of the council’s four year savings programme.

When initially approved it provided the council with a total of £125m in savings over the period of 2011/12 to 2014/15 to ‘reinvest in services to meet unavoidable cost pressures and expected reductions in government support’.

Additional savings have been added to the council’s target to reflect further reductions in local government financing, which have reduced the council’s budget for last year and this year.

Savings stand at £27.6m for 2013/14 and £39.752m for 2014/15.

For freezing council tax the council; will receive a Council Tax Freeze Grant amounting to £2.5m.