No council tax rise – but cuts on way
FAMILIES will see their main council tax bill frozen for the next two years.
Cheshire East Council will not increase the amount residents have to pay towards the authority until 2015 at the earliest.
This will mean the Cheshire East portion of a Band D property's council tax will remain unchanged at £1,216.34.
The tax promise forms part of council leaders' new three-year plan, which they say will 'secure vital services, protect the vulnerable and deliver value for money'.
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Savings will be made through increased efficiency, selling off council property and a shakeup of the management structure.
But it is not all good news for residents as John Dwyer, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, has confirmed he will be increasing Cheshire Police's portion of the bill by 1.99 per cent for Band D homes – the equivalent of 6p a week.
Council leader Michael Jones said: "We recognise that if we are to realise our ambitions to make Cheshire East a better place to live, work and do business, we need a new medium-term financial strategy that will make the best of our limited resources and provide real value for local people. It is about getting more from less. I will not try to disguise the factthat some difficult choices and decisions have been unavoidable. But we have stuck to our principles."
Around a quarter of the authority's management posts are set to be cut in a major restructuring plan. This is expected to save £5 million a year by 2015.
But at yesterday's cabinet meeting, Mr Jones denied reports that he had said senior officers were being 'pushed out' because they were 'not good enough'.
Mr Jones allegedly made the comments at the CW13 regional Conservative conference on Saturday.
Labour councillors demanded an explanation, and condemned the fact that the council had sponsored the conference – a single-party event.
Mr Jones claimed he had attended the conference in order to lobby Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles on unsustainable development in Cheshire East.
He offered to personally repay the council the £1,000 it had paid towards the conference.
Council leaders say the management restructuring is needed to prevent another Lyme Green fiasco. The failed plans for a waste transfer station cost the authority £800,000. But Labour members say Lyme Green is being used as an excuse to push through controversial reforms.
Councillor Sam Corcoran said: "These changes to management are not mentioned in any report I have seen on Lyme Green So where has this come from?"
Both Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire County Council will also be freezing their portion of council tax from April.