Election year freeze on council tax bills

Coun Stephen Parnaby, leader of the East Riding Council.
Coun Stephen Parnaby, leader of the East Riding Council.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council will agree its budget for 2015-16 at a meeting of Full Council on Thursday, 5 February, starting at 2pm, at County Hall.

Proposals being considered include, for a fifth successive year, a freeze on council tax, to continue maintaining and enhancing services, through business transformation and seizing new opportunities offered by technology, and a commitment to a comprehensive four-year capital investment programme totalling £370m that will benefit the local economy by creating and safeguarding jobs in sectors such as the construction industry.

The council will also reiterate its position of taking a planned approach to funding reductions and changes in legislation.

Councillor Stephen Parnaby OBE, leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “The budget being proposed has been produced in consultation with our residents and has been determined by their feedback and so reflects their thoughts and views on what this authority should prioritise.

“Freezing council tax to support residents during these challenging economic times was high on the list, as well as a need to ensure adult and children services are maintained (through strategic reserves established for the very reason of supporting these services during a time of reduced budgets) and the need to tackle issues such as flooding and invest in infrastructure.

“Thanks to this authority’s prudent financial management, I am pleased to say that the budget being proposed meets all of these priorities.”

Despite further savings being required in next year’s budget, funding will reduce by £23.5m – bringing the total savings made by the council since 2009 to almost £120m, the council remains optimistic that it can continue to deliver the services its residents have come to expect and, indeed, value.

Councillor Parnaby added: “I would like to clear up the totally inaccurate perception that this council is somehow ‘getting off lightly’. It isn’t, we have received the same percentage cut in funding as every other local authority.

“One of the main reasons we continue to perform highly and continue to deliver services is down to the hard work and dedication of our workforce who, since this authority was established in 1996, have always had to do more for less.

“It is engrained in the culture and ethos of this council to embrace new ways of working and to consistently seek to improve services while at the same time reducing costs and I commend our officers for continuing to do this.

“If approved, this budget will help support our local economy to grow as the national picture continues to improve and will also ensure that this council continues to deliver sustainable services both now and in the future without the kind of knee-jerk reactions seen elsewhere by other councils across the country.”