Central Beds freezes council tax

FOR the second year running, Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) has confirmed it will freeze its council tax precept, after they agreed the budget for 2012/13 yesterday (Thursday).

The average Band D council tax will be �1,308.33 for residents in the north of Central Bedfordshire and �1,326.24 for residents in the south. The budget includes plans to harmonise council tax over a two-year period.

The budget outlines �11.3m of savings, which will be made through initiatives such as back office efficiencies.

Savings will also be achieved through new ways of working, which will see management and administration streamlined, consultants cut, contracts renegotiated, the number of buildings the council works at reduced, and residents encouraged to access council services online.

The council tax income and a central Government grant will fund �179.2m of services, ranging from children and adults’ social care to waste collection.

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This spending includes an additional �1.4m on social care for older people and an additional �1.7m on services for adults with disabilities, compared to last year.

Councillors also confirmed �79.7m of capital spending for 2012/13, forming part of a four-year Capital Programme of investment in roads and street lighting, schools, care schemes and leisure projects.

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CBC’s deputy leader and executive member for corporate resources, Cllr Maurice Jones, said: “We’re delighted as we’ve delivered a balanced budget that will ensure residents continue to get real value for money for the rates they pay.

“Using our waste collection record as an example, through our recycling initiatives residents now recycle 51.6 per cent of their weekly waste, saving the council �2.6m in landfill tax. We’re achieving this through a waste collection service which costs taxpayers an average of �2.72 a week.”

The budget for 2012/13, Medium Term Financial Plan for 2012-2016 and Capital Programme for 2012-2016 can be read online at http://tinyurl.com/7uc6o76

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