Council freezes share of tax bill for third year

Lincolnshire county councillors have agreed to a historic freeze in council tax bills for the coming year.

The authority has decided not to increase its share of bills - for the third year running.

At the same time, councillors have promised to maintain front-line services - despite a massive cut in funding it receives from central government.

The decision came as the authority set its budget for 2013-14 at a full council meeting last week.

There had been calls in some quarters for a slight increase but the council’s own financial committee had recommended a freeze.

Apart from pledging to protect essential services, councillors agreed to find sensible efficiencies and invest wisely for the future.

Councillor Kelly Smith, Executive Member for Finance and Human Resources, said: “This is a difficult time for everyone financially, and we feel it’s important to do all we can to make life easier for our residents.

“That’s why we decided to take the unprecedented step of freezing our share of the council tax for the third year running.

“Over the last two years the council has found savings of around £80m, while also protecting priority services, like child protection, the fire service, and road maintenance.

“We also have plans in place that will bring a further £45m of savings over the next two years.

“At the same time, we 
continue to invest in major
 infrastructure projects, 
such as the Lincoln Eastern Bypass, the Grantham relief road and superfast broadband, which will pave the 
way for renewed prosperity in Lincolnshire.

“However, the Government has made it clear that more needs to be done if we’re going to get the country back on track.

“With that in mind, we’ll be drawing sensibly on our reserves over the next couple of years while we plan the best way to make further efficiencies.

“Having said that, it’s important that everyone pulls their weight, and that Lincolnshire isn’t asked to do more than its fair share.

“Rural authorities like Lincolnshire still do not receive the same level of overall funding as urban areas. So the council will continue to call for a fairer deal for local residents.”