Freeze on council tax given the OK

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VALE residents will not be seeing a district council tax rise this year, after members voted to impose a freeze.

The decision was taken at Aylesbury Vale District Council’s budget-setting meeting on Wednesday where members voted to accept a central government Council Tax Freeze Grant.

Lib Dem Cllr Steven Lambert: 'It's something that should be out of bounds'

Lib Dem Cllr Steven Lambert: 'It's something that should be out of bounds'

And as Bucks County Council has also agreed to freeze its portion of council tax, Vale residents could see no rise in council tax whatsoever, although authorities such as policing and fire have yet to set their budgets yet.

A vote among district members also saw the main budget proposals passed, with the controlling Conservative Party, with support from Labour and UKIP, voting for the plans, while the Liberal Democrats voted against.

At the meeting, leader of the Lib Dems, Councillor Steven Lambert, said that he was too opposed to the plans outlined in the budget to support the proposals.

“It looks like a farce,” said Mr Lambert.

“This budget is a short term fix, it’s just hacking at the underbelly of a bigger problem. You will be doing the residents of the Vale a disservice by doing this.”

But, while the Tory party was criticised by opposing members in their proposals, Conservative councillor Phil Yerby defended the budget, stating that while it is due to be a difficult year ahead for the council, the plans would allow the body to lead the way for other authorities.

“Aylesbury Vale can be a benchmark for what a great council looks like,” he said.

“It’s a brave decision to freeze council tax, but we couldn’t ask the taxpayer for another £1million in these times of austerity.”

At the meeting, the district council was also criticised for failing to fully consult with the public and parish and town councils on the budget proposals, including the New Homes Bonus Grant from central government, which has also been factored into the council’s financial plans.

Chief finance officer at the authority, Andrew Small, acknowledged this, stating the council was ‘good, but not perfect’.