City residents may miss new council tax freeze
MOST Notts people are likely to see their council tax frozen again for the fourth year running.
But bills for those within the city boundaries could go up – as Nottingham City Council has yet to decide what to do.
This week the Government said it would set aside an extra £450 million to freeze bills in England next year.
The money, the equivalent of a two per cent council tax rise, will be given to councils over a two-year period.
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However, deputy city council leader Councillor Graham Chapman could not say whether the authority would pass on the saving until its full financial settlement from the Government was revealed at the end of the year.
This year the city council rejected the Government's offer to freeze council tax, claiming otherwise it would have to increase it by twice the amount in 2013-14.
Mr Chapman said: "Every year we get a different offer with different strings. It makes it difficult to manage.
"I wish they would make up their minds. I just find it very difficult to manage a budget when every year the goalposts change."
But the news was welcomed by Conservative-run Notts County Council, which will receive about £6 million over the next two years from the Government if it freezes the tax.
Before this week's announcement, the council proposed to freeze the tax anyway – by using its reserves.
County council leader Councillor Kay Cutts said: "I am delighted that the Government has once again indicated that it will reward councils that decide to freeze council tax for hard-pressed local families.
"We are in a difficult economic climate and we recognise that many people are struggling with household bills, so it was always our intention to propose a council tax freeze once again for the forthcoming year.
"Finances are tight for the council too, so Government support to implement the council tax freeze would mean that our reserves will be protected and can be used to further support our ambitious programme of measures to stimulate the local economy."
She added that the council would approach the situation with a "note of caution" until the Government's full grant details were confirmed.
The county council will consult residents about next year's budget from November 5 to January 25. Budget proposals will be discussed on November 12 and again on February 13.
Final proposals will be debated on February 28.