Aylesbury Vale plans a freeze in tax

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Members of Aylesbury Vale District Council’s cabinet have agreed to recommend a freeze in council tax in 2015/16.

The cabinet confirmed that the district council element of the bill will remain at just £2.62 a week for an average Band D property despite what it describes as “severe” reductions in government grant.

By not increasing council tax AVDC will receive a council tax freeze grant equivalent to a council tax rise of one per cent.

The council expects a further five years of cuts in public spending over the life of the next parliament. This will see its government grant being cut to zero, a reduction of £13 million since the cuts began in 2010.

Even though it will have lost 60 per cent of its funding, the council says it is well placed to meet the challenges ahead.

AVDC says it has a good track record of delivering budget efficiencies and new income streams, already achieving savings of more than £11 million over the last five years.

Council leader, Councillor Neil Blake, said: “Over the past five years the council has worked hard to absorb £11 million of budget pressures and cuts in government funding while minimising the impact on frontline services. Despite this challenge, I am pleased to say that we are in a position to deliver a balanced budget and to recommend no increase in council tax.

“This has been achieved through careful financial planning, effective management of our resources and generating new income.

“There is no doubt that the council faces an enormous financial challenge in the future and difficult decisions will need to be made over the next few years. While good progress has been made to identify areas where we can make further savings, there is still a lot of work to be done.”

A final decision on the amount of council tax collected for AVDC services – which accounts for only nine per cent of residents’ total council tax bill – will be made by full council on February 4. The recommendation will set the AVDC share of the council tax for an average Band D property at £136.35 a year, the equivalent of £2.62 a week.

The district council provides a wide range of services including planning, recycling and waste, economic development, council tax and housing benefit, licensing and building control.