Council votes to freeze tax

Picture: PA Wire
Picture: PA Wire

The borough council has voted to freeze its rates for the coming financial year despite a late bid to up the rates.

The options open to councillors were to freeze its share once again or to implement a 1.94 per cent rise – the highest amount it could have raised its level by without triggering a local referendum is 1.99 per cent.

The authority’s cabinet has previously indicated that it would suggest councillors vote in favour of freezing the tax for next year, and so it was that the council agreed.

Labour councillors, supported by the Greens, proposed a rise in the borough’s precept but they were defeated in their attempts after a heated debate at the Town Hall.

Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Colin Challen, urged councillors to accept a rise, saying it would allow the borough to provide much needed services.

He also hit out at members who sat on the county council, which is increasing its share of the precept by 1.99 per cent.

He said: “How can [county councillors] go to County Hall and vote for a greater increase in the council tax, the greatest increase they can manage, and the Tory Police and Crime Commissioner puts up her tax, and members of parish councils put their tax up, Hunmanby alone put up its share by 15 per cent, isn’t it amazing how these councillors can do that then come to this chamber and propose a freeze?

“I find that incredible.”

Other councillors said people in the borough did not want tax rises.

In the end the freeze passed with a comfortable majority.

In presenting the council’s budget for the coming year Cllr Jane Kenyon-Miller said the council was finding more £2.8 million in efficiency savings.

She said: “Since 2010/11 we have found more than £13.1 million is savings and in the same period we have seen the money we get from Government reduce by 44 per cent.

“That is the equivalent of someone who earned £25,000 a year in 2010/11 earning £14,000 a year today.”

New council tax bills will be going out to households later this month.

People in the borough will be hit in the pocket after North Yorkshire County Council, which accounts for more than 60 per cent of people’s council tax precept, North Yorkshire Police, the Fire Authority and the town and parish councils all decided to increase their share of the tax.

Conservative-run North Yorkshire County Council’s decision came despite a plea from the Government for authorities not to raise tax levels this year.