Torbay Mayor's council tax freeze 'a little cheer to residents in very difficult times'
TORBAY mayor Gordon Oliver will be proposing a council tax freeze as part of his budget proposals at the full council meeting next week.
The council had previously been looking at a two per cent rise.
The proposal comes in a week that Local Government secretary Eric Pickles said councils who raised tax without the support of their residents were 'cheating'.
Nationally only about a third of councils have said they are freezing tax, including Teignbridge, but South Hams is proposing a 3.5 per cent rise.
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Mayor Oliver said: "We are not underestimating the challenge we face in setting the budget this year or in following years.
"However, we are also not underestimating how difficult it will also be for Torbay residents to balance their own household budgets.
"If we freeze council tax we will receive a grant from the Government of £0.6million.
"In these continuing times of austerity, I have decided to propose accepting this offer and therefore lessening the burden on taxpayers.
"Our budget consultation started even earlier this year. This included an event organised by Torbay councillors where the public were given the task of identifying where they would find the £8 to £10million budget deficit either through increasing income or service budget reductions."
He said feedback included some support for raising council tax to minimise the impact of the cuts and some support for looking into other ways in which the council can generate income.
Mayor Oliver said: "We want to try and achieve a balance between the statutory services we are required to provide by law and those that residents say they value the most.
"There are certainly no easy answers in proposing this budget but I hope the decision to freeze council tax will bring a little cheer to residents in these very difficult times."
The mayor will make his final budget proposals at the council meeting on Wednesday, February 6.
This will adjourn until February 13 for members to consider the proposals.
If an objection or amendment approved by a majority of members, the council will adjourn again until February 28 for the final decision.