Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 10°C

Search

Essex: Council freezes tax for third year running

11:50 23 January 2013

ESSEX County Council is set to freeze council tax for a third year running.

The cap was agreed by the local authority’s cabinet yesterday as part of budget proposals for 2013/14 and will go to a vote before full council on February 5.

If agreed, ECC’s share of council tax for a Band D property would remain at £1,086.75.

David Finch, ECC’s portfolio holder for finance, said through their “transformation programme” the council is becoming more of a “commissioner of services” rather than a provider.

During the meeting, Mr Finch outlined plans to find £55million of savings but also proposed investments in certain areas.

Almost £18million is earmarked for creating additional school places; £65million in maintaining the county’s roads and £1.5million to help economic growth. Around £2million would also be spent on on providing accommodation for vulnerable people.

Mr Finch said: “This is a time of unprecedented change. We are seeing great economic uncertainty therefore this is a budget proposal which is both prudent and yet a challenging budget which focuses on economic growth and vulnerable people within our society.

“This is a long-term project. We are not an administration of the quick fixes.”

He said £364m has been saved so far through their transformation programme and the council was on track to save a further £200m by 2017.

A total of £25million of underspend from last year is also being transferred to the 2013/14 budget.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Finch said: “The second stage of the transformation programme is moving this council to a more agile and leaner organisation which is becoming a commissioner of services rather than a provider.”

He also said the recruitment of senior council officers and the appointment of senior councillors with strong commercial skills and had helped bring about savings while protecting front line services.

But leader of the Lib Dem opposition Mike Mackrory said it was vital the council’s services remained accountable.

“We have to recognise an increase in council tax is not something we would want to do when everyone is already hard pressed,” he said.

“What we now need to do is actually get behind these figures and see what this means to front line services. There’s £2million off here and £3million off there, but they’re just figures. We need to find out what impact that has.

“We need to be satisfied that procedures will be in place so our residents are going to receive value for money and get quality services. There is a move towards using more external organisations but we need to make sure we have a council that remains accountable.”

0 comments

An outline planning application is being prepared for up to 200 homes in Halesworth. Picture: ARCHANT

People will today be able to see the first proposals for 200 new homes on the edge of Halesworth.

Half-term craft activities at Ickworth Park in Horringer. Naomi Burton with Esther Burton (8). Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Children visiting Ickworth House over the half-term break have enjoyed a range of craft and den-building activities.

Two young men banned for drink-driving

A soldier from Wattisham Airfield who was nearly three times the drink-drive limit has been banned from driving for 15 months.

A drink driver smashes a large hole in a stone wall - 15 century outbuilding, Stanstead. Picture Contributed

A drink-driver who was more than four times the alcohol limit when his car ploughed into a 15th century building has been spared prison.

The Orwell Bridge (stock image). Picture: Gregg Brown

The milder temperatures will continue today in the East of England, with the day remaining largely cloudy and with some light rain.

Greater Anglia. Photo: Sarah Lucy Brown

Emergency engineering works on the Ipswich to Felixstowe rail line have caused the cancellation of some services this morning.

Ipswich Magistrates Court on Elm Street.

Two young men involved in a fracas on a night out in Ipswich have admitted threatening behaviour.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Eating Out in the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Eating Out
supplement

View

Visit the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Visit the Broads
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24