THRIFTY Ribble Valley Borough Council has announced a council tax freeze without cuts in jobs or services for the fourth year running.
The council has bucked the national trend by freezing council tax without the need for compulsory redundancies or service cuts, despite an 8% reduction in Government grants. Support for charities and voluntary organisations will also be maintained.
The council’s 2013/14 budget means Ribble Valley Borough Council’s share of the council tax on a Band D property will remain at £140.69, the lowest in Lancashire and one of the lowest in the country.
As a low-spending authority, Ribble Valley Borough Council was given permission by the Government to increase its share of the council tax by 3.6%, but has chosen not to.
Commenting on the news, Leader of the Council leader Michael Ranson praised the dedication and hard work of council staff and councillors for delivering efficient and cost-effective services in difficult times.
He said: “Like all other local authorities, Ribble Valley Borough Council has seen a significant reduction in financial support from the Government.
“There have been announcements from some neighbouring authorities concerning substantial potential redundancies, but our budget proposals for the coming year do not envisage any compulsory redundancies or reduction in services, while yet again maintaining support for charitable and voluntary organisations.
“We have also frozen our share of the council tax in the interests of Ribble Valley council taxpayers, despite being given the go-ahead by the Government to increase it by 3.6%. Our sound financial position is down to strong financial discipline, prudent management and a committed and dedicated workforce.
“The council has never relied on Government handouts to fund services and this budget continues the work started two years ago to transform the way the council delivers services to Ribble Valley residents.
The budget is expected to be endorsed at a full Ribble Valley Borough Council meeting on March 5th.
We reported last week that Lancashire County Council, which takes the lion’s share of the council tax, has also frozen its bills for the fourth consecutive year, which means that bills in Ribble Valley will remain at broadly similar levels to last year.
Other parts of the council tax go to local parish or town councils, Lancashire Constabulary and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service to help fund ther activities. The amounts they claim from the council tax, known as “precepts”, might rise slightly, but since they account for only a relatively small part of the overall council tax, household bills should not rise significantly.
Full details of the bills in each council tax band and for each part of Ribble Valley will be available online at the borough council’s website (www.ribblevalley.gov.uk) after March 5th.