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Council tax to be frozen for two years, say bosses
CHESHIRE East bosses have pledged to freeze council tax for the next two years.
In his report to the cabinet, council leader Michael Jones has revealed that tax will not be increased for the third year running or in the following tax year 2014-15.
He has also committed to delivering balanced budgets for the next three years despite reductions in Government grants and increasing cost pressures.
Knutsford taxpayers living in band D homes will again pay £1,216 but that does not include the town council precept – which will be cut thanks to a grant from Manchester Airport – and contribution to the police – rising by £3.12 – and the fire service, which is to be announced on February 13.
It is being made possible with a new strategy including a shake-up of the council’s management structure which will save £5million by 2015 and a £12.6million council tax freeze grant.
The freeze over the next two years is said to be worth £470 to the average taxpayer.
Clr Jones said: “Hard-pressed, hard-working local people and families can be confident that we are on their side and that they can rely on us in these uncertain times to create greater prosperity for the whole of Cheshire East.”
The borough council is also in the process of freeing up millions of pounds by cutting the number of facilities it operates.
As reported in the Guardian, Knutsford town council is in the process of taking on some of the town’s assets including the public toilets and market hall.
Plans for economic growth will focus on a £220million capital programme aiming to facilitate the creation of 27,000 new homes and £25million will be invested on the 1,700-mile road network.
There will also be a big push to promote the authority’s 14 leisure centres as it is believed more energetic lifestyles could reduce health costs by £1million.
Clr Jones added: “The three-year financial strategy is based on taking some tough decisions in difficult times to ensure a good quality of life for the people of Cheshire East.
“We recognise that if we are to realise our ambitions to make Cheshire East a better place to live, work and do business, we need a new financial strategy that will make the best of our limited resources and provide real value for local people.”
The finalised budget report will go before councillors for approval on February 28.