CAMBRIDGESHIRE: Residents are set to face a council tax increase of 4.7 per cent

PUBLISHED: 14:03 23 January 2009 | UPDATED: 08:51 02 June 2010

COUNCIL tax payers in Cambridgeshire are set to face a hike of 4.7per cent which equates to an increase of 88p per week for a band D home owner. Finance chiefs said the increase is necessary to protect vital frontline services and to ensure the county wea

COUNCIL tax payers in Cambridgeshire are set to face a hike of 4.7per cent which equates to an increase of 88p per week for a band D home owner.

Finance chiefs said the increase is necessary to protect vital frontline services and to ensure the county weathers the storm in the recession.

The council said the increase was needed to safeguard key services such as education, health and social care.

But it means that families living in the average band D property will see an increase of £46 per year, if the budget is approved.

The increase is only for the county council precept and does not include district, parish, police and fire service precepts.

However the council tax was still likely to be lower than neighbouring counties and still one of the lowest in the country.

Councillor Jill Tuck, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "We have been faced with a very stark choice - either cut services, which may end up with residents being left in difficulty or increase council tax. We have chosen the later approach because we know that over the coming year, demand for services like social care will go up. And when it happens we will not let residents down."

The council is making every effort to avoid cuts to frontline services but it will still have to find savings of £16m which equates to around 3pc of its £329m budget.

"Efficiency" savings will be made across the board and in all departments and will not necessarily mean cuts to jobs, just a smarter way of working.

Changes are already in process including a restructuring of the senior management and out-sourced services.

Cllr John Reynolds, cabinet member for finance said the key aim of the council was to protect services through the recession.

And he said money was also being invested to help residents through the recession - including those who need help if made redundant and also in preventing them from losing their homes.

Money was being given to the CAB and there was also help for other similar organisations.

Mr Reynolds said that one of the key factors which had affected the budget was the grant funding from central government - which was an increase of just £1.71p per head annually for every Cambridgeshire resident.

He said the grant which was an increase of less than 2pc was "appalling".

He added: "Despite the pressure, protecting and investing in services has been at the centre of our plans."

The proposed budget will be discussed at a meeting of the cabinet on Monday, before going to the full council for approval on February 12.

A report to the council said: "This financial strategy fully reflects the council's estimates of the impact of the downturn with increased demands expected on some services and the need to maintain crucial capital investment at a time when capital receipts are falling.


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