|Council Tax Frozen For Fifth Year|
Labour claim 'prudent' approach to planning
Ealing's council tax will not increase this year - for the fifth year running.
The council say the decision was made despite £18million being cut from the authority's main government grant from this April and an anticipated £16million cut next year, totalling 18% over the two-year period.
Since 2010 the council says it has identified and delivered savings measures to achieve its £85million target by April 2015.
The council claims to have driven down costs by improving efficiency, reducing the cost of some of its contracts, financed projects from money held in reserve and worked in partnership with other local authorities to jointly purchase some services.
The council says staffing costs have been reduced and management structures streamlined with the amount being spent on senior management cut by 30%.
Council Leader Julian Bell said: “We know that many of our residents are also facing financial struggles, during these tough economic times, with even greater pressures on people’s wallets.
“We are committed to playing our part to ease this pressure by keeping council tax as low as possible and intend to continue to freeze council tax rates for as long as we can, while maintaining high quality services for our residents.”
Cabinet agreed an additional investment of £1million for Adults Social care in 2013/14 and to continue with capital investments to expand primary school places including places for children with special educational needs.
Councillor Yvonne Johnson, cabinet member for finance and performance, said: “We have taken a prudent approach in anticipating and planning for increasing cuts from the government, however in time it is getting harder keep on top of the cuts while meeting increasing inflation and demands on our services.
“While budgets are decreasing we are also shifting funding to address the needs of an aging and expanding population to ensure we continue to care for our most vulnerable residents“
However, Ealing's Liberal Democrat Leader Gary Malcolm disagrees and says:
''Liberal Democrats demand that Ealing Council needs to reset its moral compass and support our most vulnerable. The Labour party are not assisting those most in need. They agreed last night to shut two MORE day centres on top of recent changes that will mean about 30,000 less well off residents will have to pay Council Tax when a lot will not have the ability to do so. "
The council tax bill for the average band D household is £1362.93
Council tax rates will be set at the meeting of the full council on Tuesday, 26 February.
20th February 2013