News that West Lindsey District Council will be freezing their portion of the Council Tax, whilst maintaining frontline services, has come as welcome news for local residents living in the district.
Despite the tough financial conditions that local authorities across the country are facing Conservatives on West Lindsey District Council have managed, once again, to freeze the authority’s portion of the Council Tax, protecting frontline services and keeping their manifesto commitment to keep West Lindsey’s portion of the Council Tax low. The Budget also announced a programme of £9,000,000 of capital expenditure for major projects.
Local councils are on the frontline of the national effort to eliminate the deficit. Local councils are funded largely by grants from Central Government, then the receipts from Council Tax followed by a number of other smaller revenue streams, such as fees and charges for services.
The Conservative-led council has managed to achieve £1.5 million of savings at a time when the budget allocation from central government is drastically reducing each year. However, the council is not complacent as it still needs to find £2.5m over the next 4 years to achieve a sustainable budget position which is not reliant on Government grant. Leader of West Lindsey District Council, Cllr Jeff Summers said:
“We are well aware of the levels of tax people pay, our philosophy is to allow residents to spend their own earnings whilst we attempt to make up any shortfalls of savings required using our own resources.”
The decision means that from April, residents will continue to pay the 2013/14 rate, meaning council tax has been frozen in four out of five years.
Conservatives councillors at West Lindsey have delivered some of the smallest rises in Council Tax since we came into office; the four freezes and two increases made over the past six years have all been below the level of inflation meaning that in real terms local residents are paying less for the Council’s services. Cllr. Summers added:
“The council’s entrepreneurial approach will be used to counter the reductions in Government funding. By utilising our capital fund in conjunction with our asset portfolio we will invest to generate both capital and revenue receipts.”
The major capital investment programmes for 2015/16 include:
- Land and property £1,550,000 – Maximising our assets and investing in land and property to increase delivery for both capital and revenue returns.
- Housing related schemes £5,800,000 –working in partnership with other housing providers in meeting housing needs such as single person occupancy, reducing empty homes, affordable housing and provision for the aging population.
- E-accessibility £735,000 – improving service efficiency and utilising new technologies to help people get on-line to access services and information.
- Supporting communities £355,000 – Continuing support for community projects through our three funding stream, flood alleviation scheme, and supporting heritage schemes.
Cllr. Summers added:
“This budget is about investing in our corporate priorities. It is about developing commercial and transformational approaches to deliver the required level of savings alongside a regeneration strategy.”
Frontline services have been protected. Conservatives are proud to be keeping their manifesto promise and welcome the cross-party support received from across the political spectrum represented on the Council.