Council tax freeze

A FREEZE in council tax has been announced at County Hall for the forthcoming year.

East Riding Council has said that by anticipating the tough economic period ahead and careful planning, it has allowed them to keep the precept at the same level as last year.

They say they have been able to set a budget which will also protect essential services, and will keep job losses at County Hall to a minimum with just 145 expected to be lost compared to thousands at other authorities.

It is the first time the precept has not been increased since East Riding Council was created in 1996.

Councillor Stephen Parnaby, OBE, leader of the council, said: “The massive funding reductions for the public sector - which come as the Government seeks to cut the national deficit - are having the impact we expected on local government.

“Our forward planning and early action have helped us to mitigate the effects of grant reductions.

“This means we can avoid unplanned cuts and knee-jerk reactions even though the East Riding has had a reduction in government funding of £30m over the next four years.

The budget which has been set today protects key services and continues to fund the priorities which have been agreed with our partners and residents.

“Council tax has been frozen for 2011/12 at the same level as the current year.”

The council approved savings totalling £9.5m, which will be achieved through projects which include improving productivity and reviewing service delivery, looking at the use of council premises, improving procurement of goods and services and reductions in expenditure.

There are no proposals within the savings to close any of the council’s leisure centres, libraries or other facilities.

Following a public consultation undertaken earlier in the year which identified highway maintenance and support to vulnerable adults and children as key priority areas, the council say an extra £4.6m is being spent on adult social care to meet the cost of caring for the elderly and people with disabilities and an additional £491,000 has been agreed to protect children at risk and the increasing number of children requiring local authority care.

Additional funding has been made within the budget for highways maintenance and a further £2m has been released from contingency funds to provide additional salt and fast-track repairs to the highway caused by the severe weather experienced in December.

They say that by recognising the importance of transport in a rural area funding for supported bus routes has been maintained .

Following successful working with town and parish councils to clear the snow in December, a total of £200,000 has been allocated through the Local Strategic Partnership for town and parish councils to spend on local communities and projects.

Households in Pocklington can expect to continue paying the same rates, with an average band D household shelling out £1212.20 a year.

With Pocklington Town Council placing a freeze on their precept, most householders will continue paying around the same amount as last year, however, Humberside Fire and Rescue and Humberside Police are yet to announce their own precept.