By Cheshire East council - 29th February 2012 7:01am
Cheshire East Council has voted to freeze Council Tax for the second year running — while boosting spending on services for vulnerable children and adults.
The decision comes despite the continued reductions in government grants, increasing cost pressures and potential changes to the Council's funding arrangements.
The freeze in the authority's Council Tax will be facilitated by a grant of £4.5m from central Government, which will be held in the authority's cash reserves to support future spending.
A meeting of the full Council voted through the proposed Council Tax (Thursday, February 23) along with the Council's new-look Business Plan.
This document moves away from the traditional way of reporting separately the Council's Budget for the coming year and its corporate priorities. It now combines everything in one document to show clearly its ambitions and available resources.
The planned spending on Council services (gross spending on services, less income from fees and charges) for 2012/13 is £553m. This is £33m lower than the previous year's figure of £586m.
The Cheshire East Band D Council Tax will remain unchanged at £1,216.34.
Business Plan measures include:
- No increase in basic Council Tax levels for 2012/13 — securing extra Government funding of £4.5m (equivalent to increasing Council Tax by 2.5 per cent)
- £3.6m investment in care for vulnerable adults — to help meet rising demand for frontline services
- £1m increase in spending for children's services intervention in cases of children aged 13+ — to reduce demand for in-house care
- £0.2m increase for fostering and family support
- £0.2m one-off grant to town and parish councils — to address the issue of local services to unparished areas charged to all Cheshire East taxpayers
- General reserves will increase from £13.2m to £20.8m.
Due to the proposed Council Tax freeze, and to address the costs of the non-parished areas of Crewe and Macclesfield, Cheshire East Council will pay a grant to all parish and town councils, proportionate to their number of average Band D households.
This addresses the issue of the unparished towns of Macclesfield and Crewe, which charge no town or parish precepts for those discretionary local services which are paid for by all Cheshire East Council Tax payers.
Audlem Online adds: "We wait with bated breath to find out what Audlem's share of the £0.2M grant to town and parish councils will be".
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