Council tax to be frozen for third year running in South Gloucestershire
THE LOCAL authority has agreed to freeze council tax for the third year running in South Gloucestershire.
District officers had budgeted for a two per cent tax increase to make up for the loss of around £1 million in central government grants starting in April.
But Conservative members, opposed to the plans, suggested freezing South Gloucestershire Council's provision for inflation and using the sum to bridge the million-pound funding gap instead.
The move was backed by a majority of councillors at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday, February 20.
Conservative group leader Cllr John Calway (Longwell Green) said: "As a result of this third freeze, the average Band D household will have saved £139 on their council tax bill over three years.
"That’s money which is staying in people’s pockets to be spent in our local economy and supporting local businesses."
A budget of £189 million was passed for 2013/14 at the budget-setting meeting. A living wage, proposed by the Labour party, will also be introduced in October for council staff on lower income.
Under the new system, hourly pay will rise to £7.45.
Labour leader Cllr Andy Perkins (Woodstock) said: "Labour has successfully negotiated a deal that includes introducing the Living Wage for over 1,600 lower-paid and often part-time workers.
"It will put a little more money in their pockets, reduce dependency on benefits and result in increased tax revenues. We are the first West of England council to take this step and I am proud of this achievement."
A fair pay review to control the wages of the council’s highest earners put forward by the Conservatives was also approved.