Council tax to be frozen for another year in South Gloucestershire
POLITICAL parties have unanimously agreed to freeze council tax for another year in South Gloucestershire.
Members of the local authority’s policy and resources committee voted in favour of a ‘consensus budget,’ which should see the amount households are liable to pay remain unchanged.
A final decision will be made at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday, February 20.
District officers had recommended council tax be increased by two per cent to make up for a two per cent cut in central government funding.
But Conservative councillors, who believed they could find a way to make up for the million-pound shortfall in the budget, by tapping into the sum set aside for inflation, suggested freezing council tax for a third year.
They were backed by Labour and Lib Dem members.
Conservative group leader Cllr John Calway (Longwell Green), said: "The Conservative group’s number one priority is to protect hardworking local households who are struggling with the rising cost of living.
"South Gloucestershire’s part of the council tax is one household item that does not have to increase because of our plan to freeze it by freezing the council’s provision for inflation – it’s a straight forward swap.
"As a result, the average Band D household is on course to have saved £139 on their council tax bill over three years."
Labour leader Cllr Andy Perkins (Woodstock) added: "We have voted to freeze the council tax as we know that many residents are finding it difficult to make ends meet at the moment, and George Osborne has recently admitted that his cuts will have to continue beyond his original plan period.
"I am confident that it will be supported by council next week."
As part of the consensus budget, a living wage of £7.45 per hour—proposed by Labour-- is set to be introduced in April to support 1,500 lower-paid and part-time council workers.
The Conservatives' plans for a ‘fair pay review’ to control the wages of the local authority’s highest earners and further protect low-income staff was also given the green light.