Reduction in Council Tax proposed by Braintree District Council

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Council tax rates could be reduced for a second consecutive year Braintree District Council (BDC) has announced, following the release of the 2014/15 budget proposals.

This would be the fourth consecutive year where council tax levels have been frozen or reduced.

Pending approval by cabinet and full council, the plans would see a further one per cent reduction (following last year’s reduction) in council tax.

BDC leader, Cllr Graham Butland, said: “In November we set out our plans to make over £1.5m in savings over the next year following the reduction in government funding.

“I am very pleased that through sound financial planning, we are not only meeting this challenge head on and protecting front line services, but are also in a position, unlike many other authorities, to now present a budget which will not only see council tax reduced, but continued investment into key areas.

“We are now turning our attention to the budget for 2015/16 in which I hope we can deliver an equally good result for taxpayers.

“With ever increasing household bills the council has a responsibility to support our hard working residents by keeping council tax as low as possible.

“Whilst there are increases in some fees and charges the approach we have taken has been a considered one to ensure charges remain fair, reasonable and competitive.

“For example pest control fees and local land charges are not rising. In most cases where we are increasing charges, we are also investing money in the service, such as new buses for community transport, better facilities at allotments and improvements to car parks.

“We have also listened to people’s concerns about CCTV cameras in Braintree and Halstead and it is our intention to continue with the service in both towns’.

“We remain an ambitious council, but also a prudent one and I believe the budget being put forward will, if approved, enable us to continue to provide important services at value for money for taxpayers, whilst also allowing us to invest in the specific areas that are important to our residents and businesses.”

Key proposals for 2014/15:

• One per cent reduction for a second consecutive year in council tax, making a four year period with either a reduction or freeze in council tax levels

• No cuts in frontline services

• New homes bonus has not been used to ‘prop up’ the budget, but allocated to boost economic growth, create new jobs and support new infrastructure, such as improvements to the A120, better broadband and improved rail services.

• Supporting town centres with the continuation of the 10p after 3pm car parking initiative

• £125,000 investment to improve and refurbish our car parks

• Investment of £25,000 to support improvements to industrial estates;

• Investing in young people with £50,000 for the continuation of the successful apprenticeship scheme

• Keeping our streets clean with a £66,000 investment for the continuation of the barrow beats service in Braintree, Halstead and Witham

• £82,000 investment to refurbish or upgrade five play areas at King George V Playing Field Braintree; Fisher Field, Braintree; Glebe Avenue, Braintree and Church St, Bocking and create a new play area at Windsor Close, Witham Braintree District Council, Causeway House, Braintree, Essex, CM7 9HB. Fax (01376) 552626

2014010 Reduction in council tax proposed by Braintree District Council.

• Investing £690,000 to improve waste and recycling services to businesses and households using in-cab technology and building a new vehicle workshop; this delivers significant operational savings too

• Investment of £9.5 million in leisure with the completion of Witham Leisure Centre this summer

• £1 million investment in new and improved facilities at the Council’s other leisure centres

• Continued investment in affordable housing with over £1 million allocated to support new projects; plus the launch of the new Local Authority Mortgage Scheme, joint with Lloyds Bank and Essex County Council

• Continuing to support Parish and Town Councils with the discretionary Localism Fund

• Investment of £45,000 for new community transport buses to support vulnerable people

• Improving public health with an additional £30,000 investment to support local initiatives

• Supporting the relocation of Braintree Football Club with £75,000 allocated to feasibility and design work with the aim of maximising economic and community benefits;

The budget proposals will be discussed by Cabinet on the 3 February 2014 and will then be put forward to council on February 17.

Further information on all the budget proposals can be found via the Meeting Agenda page at, Braintree District Council, Causeway House, Braintree, Essex, CM7 9HB. Fax (01376) 552626

2014010 Reduction in council tax proposed by Braintree District Council.doc