Council looks to freeze tax

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TAX demands from Daventry District Council look set not to increase in April.

The leader of DDC, Cllr Chris Millar, has told the Daventry Express the authority is looking at freezing its portion of the council tax bill and taking up the Government’s offer of helping subsidise it.

However, with some other local authorities planning increases to their share, every household looks likely to be paying slightly more from April.

The Government’s offer is the same as it was last year – if a council does not increase what it charges residents then it will get extra money from Westminster, equivalent to a 2.5 per cent increase in budget.

Cllr Millar said: “We have made large savings in the past 12 months, and we’re continuing to find ways to save money.

“Although our budget has not yet been finalised, we are looking at a council tax freeze for the second year running.

“We get an extra 2.5 per cent from the Government, but with inflation standing high than that, we still have to make savings just to stand still.

“We have been running a deficit in recent years, and using our reserves to balance it out.

“We are still running a deficit, but we are predicting running a surplus in a couple of years’ time, before going back to deficits.

“We are making savings every year, and I think we’ll probably have to keep on making savings.

“It all comes down to the Government and what funding it decides to give us, or take away. And in the current climate I imagine taking away is more likely.”

By eating into its reserves, DDC leaves itself less able to cope with unexpected bills or other costs.

Already, Northamptonshire County Council has indicated it will be freezing its portion of the council tax.

However, Northamptonshire Police Authority has indicated it will be putting up its tax demands to cover reduced money from central Government, and local authorities.

The other portion of council tax bills comes from parish councils and local special expenses. Many parishes are currently setting their tax levels, but Daventry Town Council has already said it will be putting up its bill to cover the cost of it taking over the town centre CCTV network.

Cllr Millar said: “Any council looking at increasing its council tax precept should think very hard about it.

“Household budgets are being squeezed very tightly at the moment and councillors will have to answer the public’s questions on money and tax when it comes to elections.”