Council tax freeze for north east Derbyshire residents

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Council tax will be frozen for north east Derbyshire residents after town hall bosses voted not to increase their authority’s share for 2015/16.

North East Derbyshire District Council, which needs to save £500,000 over the next year because of Government cuts, agreed the freeze at a meeting last week.

Graham Baxter, leader of the Labour-run authority, said: “Even though we continue to be hit hard by reductions in our Government grants, we believe keeping our residents bills as low as possible is the best and the right thing to do.

“But don’t get me wrong, we still have some tough decisions to make if we are to maintain our services at the same level and secure jobs.”

Councillors also agreed to raise rents for council house tenants and those in homelessness units by 2.2 per cent.

Councillor Martin Thacker, leader of the Conservatives on the authority, criticised those hikes but said he supported the council tax freeze.

He added: “We believe it is right to ease the burden on council tax payers as much as possible.”

Bolsover District, Amber Valley Borough and Derbyshire Dales District councils have all announced council tax freezes.

Derbyshire County Council, however, is increasing its share of the tax by 1.99 per cent.

The rise, which will come into force in April, means a hike of £21.75 a year − or 42p a week − for a Band D property and £16.92 a year − or 33p a week − for a Band B property.

Most homes in Derbyshire are Band A or B.

Anne Western, leader of the council, said: “We need to ask local people to pay more in council tax to help pay for the services that continue.

“It’s not something we relish doing.”

Meanwhile, the amount of money residents pay for policing in their council tax will increase by 1.99 per cent in a bid to rake in £1million a year.

Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles said it would be a rise of £3.39p per year for a Band D property.

Mr Charles said the hike would help fill this year’s expected budget gap.

He added: “Every year since 2010 the Government grant – which funds two-thirds of policing in Derbyshire – has been cut.

“Disappointingly, we are facing similar treatment this year.

“To try to offset this, I have been working with Chief Constable Mick Creedon to identify savings and balance the budget.

“Much progress has been made but we still expect a shortfall.”

Policing in Derbyshire in 2015/16 will cost about £169m and around one-third of the total funding comes from the policing element of the council tax.