Rutland County Council agrees fifth tax freeze

Rutland County Council offices in Oakham

Rutland County Council offices in Oakham

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Councillors have voted to freeze tax rates for the fifth year running despite considerable pressures on the county budget.

Speaking after the decision was made at a full council meeting on Monday, council leader Roger Begy (Con) said the authority was “well-placed” to deal with future financial challenges.

He added: “While our budget for 2015/16 results in a deficit, strong financial management in previous years means that we can draw upon our reserves and plan for a controlled reduction in expenditure to tackle this. We do not consider that any proposed savings will have any significant adverse impact on frontline services.

“We do not need to implement hasty cuts and can avoid the kind of emergency measures put forward by other local authorities – such as closing libraries and museums. We should stress this position can’t be sustained in the long term but we will use this period to rebalance that situation. Work has already started on this.”

The council will work within a budget of £33.275m for 2015/16, having identified £780,000 of savings.

Councillors also agreed to offer £75,000 to Leicestershire Fire and Rescue for the next two years to preserve frontline services. Coun Begy added: “Our offer of financial support is based on the condition that Rutland retains both its fire stations and the current number of appliances, staffed by one full time crew and two retained crews.”