Council tax frozen for third successive year by Lincolnshire County Council
For the first time in its history, Lincolnshire County Council has frozen its share of the council tax for the third consecutive year.
Lincolnshire County Council covers areas in North Lincolnshire such as Scotter, Snitterby, Hemswell, Bigby, North Kelsey and Grassby.
The decision came as the authority set its budget for 2013/14 at today's meeting of the full council.
In doing so, councillors again pledged to protect essential services, find sensible efficiencies and invest wisely for the future.
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Councillor Kelly Smith, Executive Member for Finance and HR, said: "This is a difficult time for everyone financially, and we feel it's important to do all we can to make life easier for our residents.
"That's why we decided to take the unprecedented step of freezing our share of the council tax for the third year running.
"Over the last two years the council has found savings of about £80 million, while also protecting priority services, like child protection, the fire service, and road maintenance.
"We also have plans in place that will bring a further £45 million of savings over the next two years.
"At the same time, we continue to invest in major infrastructure projects, such as the Lincoln Eastern Bypass, the Grantham relief road and superfast broadband, which will pave the way for renewed prosperity in Lincolnshire.
"However, the Government has made it clear that more needs to be done if we're going to get the country back on track.
"With that in mind, we'll be drawing sensibly on our reserves over the next couple of years while we plan the best way to make further efficiencies.
"Having said that, it's important that everyone pulls their weight, and that Lincolnshire isn't asked to do more than its fair share.
"Rural authorities like Lincolnshire still do not receive the same level of overall funding as urban areas.
"So the council will continue to call for a fairer deal for local residents.
"The freeze in council tax was made possible thanks to an additional Government grant.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles yesterday (Friday, February 22) praised all 219 councils adopting a "can-do" attitude to freeze their council tax for residents.
Latest Government figures published today that show that 219 councils are intending to accept the Government's grant offer and freeze their council tax for 2013-14 - and North Lincolnshire Council is one of these.
The government has set aside £450 million for local government in England to freeze council tax in 2013 to 2014, which will be the third successive year in which a freeze scheme applies.
In total, the three freeze deals are worth potentially over £200 to a typical Band D resident.
A new local democracy referendum trigger now gives residents the means to protect against excessive rises by ensuring that a local authority has to go to the polls if they decline the freeze offer worth an equivalent of a one percent rise and raise council tax above a two per cent increase.
Mr Pickles said: "I'm pleased that an increasing number of councils are taking up the Government's deal to freeze their residents' council tax.
"I encourage all authorities still to decide to follow their example.
"Those that freeze bills are making a real difference to families and those on fixed incomes, such as pensioners, with their cost of living.
"All councils should be looking to make sensible savings to their budgets and follow every one of the 'Fifty Ways to Save' that was published by the Government earlier in the year.
English councils budgeted to spend £114.5 billion in 2013-14, accounting for a quarter of all public spending, which means they have a role to play reducing the inherited deficit.