COUNCIL tax will not be going up for Bromsgrove residents this year.
The decision to freeze the rates was made by Bromsgrove District Council’s Cabinet Committee at the latest meeting on Wednesday (January 4).
Councillors voted in favour of releasing the £63,000 shortfall made by the freeze from the reserved balances.
It all came after the committee chose to reject the recommendation to increase the rates by 1.9 per cent.
The Government will also be awarding the council a grant equivalent to a one per cent rise in council tax for 2015 to 2016, something all councils which choose to implement a freeze for the next financial year will receive.
Coun Mark Bullivant said: “This is about trying to give back some of the savings we have made to the residents.
“It is all to do with the good work of our council officers and shared services.”
A Conservative spokesperson said the group had been able to freeze council tax because of prudent savings.
“It would not have been wise to commit ourselves to a freeze before we could find the money to pay for it.
“The leader of the Labour Group committed himself and his party to a freeze, despite publicly admitting that he was doing this without knowing what the budget would look like.
“This would have been incredibly irresponsible, and would have been nothing but a blatant election bribe.
“The Conservatives have protected frontline services whilst making savings, and have now ensured we can give these savings back to our residents.”
Coun Luke Mallett said Bromsgrove’s Labour and Independent councillors had been calling for a freeze for some years now.
He added as recently as September the Conservative group had blocked Labour’s call for a fully funded council tax freeze.
Coun Mallet said despite having unplanned budget surpluses every year the Conservatives had upped the tax each year to the maximum permitted level.
He added it was quite clear a vote for Bromsgrove’s high tax Tories in the next general elections, taking place in May, would only give more of the same – tax rises, cuts in services, officers moved to Redditch and more failures from the council.
“Unfortunately the Conservatives have shown time and time again they can’t be trusted with the finances of the council and this last minute u-turn, whilst welcome does nothing to restore their reputation.
“The Conservatives must think the electorate of Bromsgrove are daft.”