Tax freeze ‘likely’ but frontline services at risk - council warns

Scarborough Council meet at the Town Hall . Pic Richard Ponter 144708f
Scarborough Council meet at the Town Hall . Pic Richard Ponter 144708f

Scarborough Council says it is likely to implement another council tax freeze this year - but has warned that services will be under threat as it tries to balance its budget.

The warning came as the council tries to find another £250,000 of savings in its revenue budget for 2015/16.

The authority has already identified £2.5 million is savings but following a rejection of its plan to charge for collecting green waste it now needs to look at what can be cut to find the remaining shortfall.

Speaking at a meeting of the council’s cabinet, its director of Business Support Nick Edwards, said that a freeze in the borough’s share of the council tax was the most likely outcome going forward.

He said: “Give that at the moment it appears that the choice would be between freezing our share of the tax or increasing the amount paid by 1.94 per cent we would recommend that a freeze be the option that should be taken.”

Should the council freeze tax it will get a grant from Central Government to the equivalent of a one per cent rise.

Councillors were told that raising the council tax level by 1.94 per cent, which is roughly an extra 8p per week for a Band D Council Tax payer, would raise just £58,000 in extra revenue.

Cllr Jane Kenyon-Miller, portfolio holder for Finance, Procurement and Legal, warned that decisions on where the council will find savings will be ‘painful’.

She said: “I need to warn you that this process is going to be very painful but we have a legal requirement to present a balanced budget.
“We have to look at all areas.”

Mr Edwards added: “I have to say that given the situation frontline services will be at risk.

“That is the reality.”

A draft budget will come back before the cabinet later this month.