Council tax frozen for following year

Kirklees Council leader Mehboob Khan.
Kirklees Council leader Mehboob Khan.

A council tax freeze for 2014/15 has been agreed by senior councillors this week.

Council leader Mehboob Khan said the move would help those hit by the recession at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

He added: “The council is mindful that the recession is hitting local households hard and that this freeze will help alleviate the pressure in the short term.”

A two per cent increase was considered by the authority but they instead chose to take Secretary of State for Communities Eric Pickles’ offer of a cash incentive to freeze the tax. The authority chose to reject that offer last year and hiked council tax by 1.7 per cent.

The proposed freeze will now go to the budget meeting of the full council on February 19 for a decision.

This will affect the Kirklees Council part of the council tax bill – the Police Commissioner and West Yorkshire Fire Authority have yet to formally determine their position.

The freeze is despite savings needed at Kirklees of £129m a year from 2010 to 2017. More than £62m has already been identified, and a budget report to cabinet proposed how a further £21m could be saved in 2014/15.

Proposals include £1.4m less for routine road repairs, £1.076m less in street cleansing, the loss of 201 full-time equivalent posts and an administration charge for parking permits. Around 9,000 people from across the district would have to pay a suggested admin charge of £30 to park outside their homes.

But there was good news as councillors reversed a proposed funding cut to local area committees. A draft budget in November last year had slashed the community funding budget from £291,000 to nothing, which caused uproar across North Kirklees.

Conservative leader Robert Light said: “Under pressure from ourselves they are adopting our priorities of freezing council tax and maintaining funds for our local communities. This represents a double win for residents throughout Kirklees.”