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Wednesday 17 February 2010

Council Tax to rise by only 1.7%

Cheshire East Council's Cabinet has recommended a below-inflation 1.7% increase on its element of Council Tax, the lowest in Cheshire.

For the majority of householders in B and A to C homes, this will mean a rise of between just 26p and 35p per week, while for band D owners, it is 39p a week.

The increase comes in well below the rate of inflation but still allows for considerable investment in key services. It also mirrors the feedback from residents during the Council’s consultation exercises, which highlighted a preference for a small rise rather than across the board service cuts.

In order to continue delivering the same high level of services, Cheshire East Council must raise a total of £240m. This year's Government grant is £63m, leaving £177m to be raised from Council Tax.

The Council also collects Council Tax on behalf of the Police and the Fire and Rescue Services. Overall, therefore, the total increase is expected to be still only 1.86%, making it one of the lowest increases in the UK.

Leader of the Council, Wesley Fitzgerald, said: "Setting our budget this year has been very hard but we have made sure the Council Tax increase is modest whilst still allowing us to invest in key services.

“I am pleased to say that we are planning to invest £4.6m to address the on-going pressures in Children’s Services. Part of the additional income from Council Tax will also be used to invest a further £0.8m in this service which will actually help us deliver savings of £3.6m over three years.

“Our adult services have recently undergone a significant redesign. We have now streamlined them all into one service, to deliver savings of £3.7m.. Indeed, many aspects of this service are already rated as excellent.

“A further saving of £2.5m over three years is expected following the transformation of Health and Wellbeing services which we have delivered. Other investments we are planning include £2.1m in waste minimisation and recycling, and £300k for economic recovery projects. A further £100k is being provided to promote take-up of benefits, making sure residents are able to access benefits they are genuinely entitled to.

“We are confident this is a budget that will benefit every resident of Cheshire East and allow the Council to achieve its vision of working to improve community life,” he added.

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