RESIDENTS in West Somerset can look forward to a freeze in their council tax this year thanks to a government grant.

The authority approved the freeze at a council meeting yesterday (February 26) and agreed to accept a government grant of £20,547.

The grant is an equivalent of a 1% increase in the district's share of Council Tax and will be embedded in to future annual funding to the Council.

It means the average Band D Council Tax will remain at £137.82 a year.

Council leader Tim Taylor siad the proposed freeze would help hard-working residents and those on fixed incomes in the year ahead.

He 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 £20,000 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 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.”

Car park charges are also to be frozen in the coming year.