Hopes for tax freeze in county

A FREEZE on council tax is expected to be recommended by members of North Yorkshire County Council for the second year running when they meet to consider the budget this month.

In a recent meeting the council’s executive agreed to recommend accepting a £6m one-off government grant to avoid the need for a tax increase, with the reccomendation set to be discussed at a full meeting of the council on Wednesday, February 15.

Council leader John Weighell said: “A freeze on council tax next year is worth about £26 for the average B and D household, and in such difficult times the council is anxious to minimise the financial burden for residents as much as possible.

“North Yorkshire is a low spending and low taxing authority which is already making £36m of savings in the current year, and needs to make a further £15m next year,” he said.

“Although we must make tough spending decisions,” said Coun Weighell, “We will continue to do everything possible to protect frontline services and the most vulnerable people in our society.”

In line with the Government’s spending reviews North Yorkshire County Council will be required to find savings of £69m over the course of the next four years.

Alongside some targeted reductions in services, the council is on course to deliver all of the required savings in the current financial year and has said that the prospect of achieving savings necessary for 2012-13 is considered to be “strong”.

Harrogate Borough Council has also announced plans to freeze council tax in its budget for 2012-13, with a final decision to be made in a full meeting of the borough council on Wednesday, February 8.