Council tax rate freeze

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HOUSEHOLDERS will face no increase in council tax from five local authorities this year.

Chesterfield Borough Council, NE Derbyshire District Council (NEDDC), Bolsover District Council, Derbyshire Dales District Council and Amber Valley Borough Council all agreed the move in their budget meetings this past week.

Chesterfield Borough Council said its tax was “the lowest in Derbyshire” while NEDDC said it meant residents living in a Band A property would continue to pay £113.98 a month, Band D properties £170.97.

Residents living in Band A properties in Bolsover will continue to pay £105.43 a month.

Bolsover District Council Leader, Cllr Eion Watts, said: “Residents are faced with higher living costs from every angle - VAT increase, higher petrol costs, higher food prices and rising unemployment - and the last thing we want to do is add to that burden.”

Despite being the lowest-funded local authority in the county, Derbyshire Dales District Council has also frozen council tax rates, with the average household paying just 50p a day for the services. It was dealt a 16.3 per cent cut in government grant in 2011/12 - the biggest percentage cut faced by any council in England - meaning they had to start a comprehensive review of spending across all its services.

Cllr Lewis Rose, leader of the Derbyshire Dales District Council, said: “Having gone through an exhaustive staff streamiling programme as recently as 2007, we have tried to minimise job losses, because the people who work for Derbyshire Dales District Council provide the services local people want.

“The fact that the average household in the Dales still pays only £3.65 a week for our services demonstrates how we continue to do more with less by making value for money a top priority.”

For the fifth year running, Amber Valley Borough Council has decided to freeze council tax rates for residents.

All councils expect to achieve balanced budgets.

Cllr Graham Baxter, NE Derbyshire District Council leader, said the council had scrutinised the way it worked and found new ways to be more efficient to balance the budget for 2011 / 12. A statement from Chesterfield said the council had built up £7m in reserves and had no plans to declare job losses.

Voluntary sector organisations, such as the Derbyshire Unemployed Workers Centre, will retain grant aid for the next year,

NEDDC said £300,000 of £1m in savings needed were in place with proposals for the remaining set out in restructuring services to protect the front line and limit staff impact, with eight posts at risk.

ellen.beardmore@derbyshiretimes.co.uk