Freeze forecast for council tax in West Somerset

Somerset County Gazette: West Somerset Council leader, Cllr Tim Taylor. PHOTO: Steve Guscott West Somerset Council leader, Cllr Tim Taylor. PHOTO: Steve Guscott

A GOVERNMENT grant could see a council tax freeze and help the pockets of residents in West Somerset.

At a cabinet meeting last Wednesday, members said the Government had announced plans to cap the level of rises to two per cent.

The Government has been encouraging local authorities to freeze their council tax by offering a grant equivalent to a one per cent increase.

West Somerset District Council’s cabinet is proposing to freeze its proportion of council tax by nine per cent of the total bill and accept the one per cent ‘Freeze Grant’ given by the Government.

The ‘Council Tax Freeze Grant’ would be built into the council Central Government funding and would not be a one-off.

Council leader Cllr Tim Taylor said: “West Somerset Council feels that at this time of continued financial hardship it is fair to our residents to minimise the amount of taxation they will have to pay.

“The council could increase its proportion of council tax by 1.99% – the current limit set by the Government before a referendum is triggered.

“The Freeze Grant from Government brings some £16,000 into West Somerset whereas a Council Tax rise of 1.99% would take £32,000 out of the pockets of West Somerset residents.

“A further reason for the freeze proposed is that West Somerset wishes to confirm to Government that it is predicting balanced budgets until at least 2017.

“We want to work with the Government and it is Government policy that encourages councils to set a zero increase in Council Tax and accept the 1% Freeze Grant.”

A final decision on the level of West Somerset’s council tax will be made at a full council meeting next week.

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