13 February 2013

A proposal to maintain council tax levels has been approved by Northamptonshire County Council’s cabinet after hearing that nearly 90 per cent of residents taking part in its budget consultation were in favour of a tax freeze.

The cabinet meeting took place today (WED) to agree its budget for 2013/14 which sets a net revenue budget of £437.859 million and a total expenditure budget of £1.116 billion.

The 2013/14 budget, which set out the cabinet’s response to continued reductions in government funding and growing demand for services for older people and children in care, incorporates £33.6m of savings in the coming financial year. This is part of the overall saving requirement of £77.5million over the next three years.

The budget covers year two of a four-year framework. The freezing of council tax means that a Band D rate for 2013/14 would remain at £1,028.11 if the budget is approved by a meeting of Full Council later in the month.

Leader of the council Councillor Jim Harker said: “When we launched our four-year framework last year, we promised to freeze council tax, to make further back-office savings and find new ways to work in partnership to help save money even further. We made a commitment to continuing to support the county’s growth and prosperity and to providing services where people can’t help themselves.

“As we enter the second year of that framework, I’m pleased to be able to say that we’ve continued to press ahead in all those areas to ensure our limited resources are targeted in the right places.”

Councillor Bill Parker, cabinet member for finance, said: “Over 1,700 people or organisations took part in the budget consultation and the overwhelming majority agreed with our proposal to freeze council tax. They also told us that they supported our new and innovative ways of working. This include our new commissioning arrangements for highways services, the creation of Olympus Care Services delivering adult social care services, and the ongoing success of LGSS, the shared services venture founded by ourselves and Cambridgeshire County Council, which reduces the costs of services through the consolidation of resources and process redesign.

“We will continue to remodel our services to find pioneering ways of achieving savings while protecting the most vulnerable people in the county.”

Of those taking part in the budget consultation, 88.1 per cent agreed with the proposal to freeze council tax levels. Just under 70 per cent supported the council’s new ways of working.

The budget will be presented to the next meeting of Full Council on Thursday 21 February.