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Bromley council tax frozen as cuts of £13.5m approved
BROMLEY Council have voted to freeze council tax for the second year running while approving £13.5m worth of cuts.
This means the overall amount paid by a band D tax payer will decrease by £3.10 over the year following the Mayor of London’s decision to reduce his portion of council tax. A band D tax payer will now pay £1,298.03.
This was despite some public support for a rise in council tax to help save services.
At a public meeting in Beckenham in November there was overwhelming support for a four per cent increase, which would cost a band D tax payer £39.65 extra a year.
Leader of the Council Councillor Stephen Carr said: "We know many of our residents face difficult times because of the national economic situation.
"Yes, we have had to make substantial savings, but through our robust financial management, by continuing to drive out waste and being flexible in how we deliver services, once again we have been able to freeze your council tax.
"Be assured building a better Bromley remains our guiding principle and through sound financial planning we continue to meet the ever increasing demand for services, many to support our most vulnerable residents."
Labour leader Councillor John Getgood said the budget had hit children disproportionately hard, with savings to the school improvement service.
He said: “Local meetings showed that residents would be prepared to pay higher council tax for services that helped strengthen our communities and individual lives.
"The four per cent increase that was supported at the Beckenham meeting would cost Council Tax payers less than a pound a week.
"If it had been implemented in previous years, this council would have had more than five million pounds a year to cushion our most vulnerable residents against the harmful effects of these cuts."
His amendment to provide additional funding to support early years and school improvement, and to stop cuts to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau while making additional savings in road and footpath maintenance was defeated.
An amendment put forward by Liberal Democrat leader Councillor Tom Papworth to prevent cuts totalling £955,000 was also defeated.
Other services affected by cuts are street cleaning, support for disabled people and support for children with special educational needs.
Cuts have had to made following reductions in central government funding for local authorities. Last year saw cuts of £22m, with another £30m to be made over the next three years.
The decision to freeze council tax was made to take advantage of a one-off government funded council tax freeze grant, which is the equivalent of a 2.5 per cent rise.
Some of the cuts outlined for 2012/13
Reduce funding for children with special educational needs, saving £50,000.
School improvement service to see cuts of £315,840
Savings of £180,000 to be made by reducing the Disabled Facilities Grant and the Save a Home Grant.
Funding for street cleansing to be reduced £818,000
The Citizen’s Advice Bureau will lose £32,000 in funding
The support planning and brokerage service for older people will lose £50,000.
£10,000 to be saved through tackling blue badge fraud.
Reduce funding for tree maintenance by £62,000.
Funds available for repainting street lamp columns to be reduced by £55,000
Council tax levels for 2012/13
Band A - £865.35
Band B - £1,009.58
Band C - £1,153.80
Band D - £1,298.03
Band E - £1,586.48
Band F - £1,874.93
Band G - £2,163.38
Band H - £2,596.06