Stevenage councillors agree council tax freeze

26 Feb 2015

Stevenage Borough Council has this evening announced a freeze in its portion of the council tax. This is the sixth consecutive year that the Stevenage element of the council tax has been frozen.

With an increase in Hertfordshire County Council’s element and Hertfordshire Police electing to freeze their precept, council tax levels will increase by 1.53% for 2015/16. For a band D property, the total council tax charge will be £1477.43

The majority of households in Stevenage fall into Band C. Stevenage Borough Council will receive £167.57 a year from them. This means each Band C household will be paying 46p a day for services including doorstep refuse and recycling collections, parks and play areas, community safety, cemeteries, environmental health, and leisure and cultural facilities such as the Museum.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Sharon Taylor, told councillors at this evening’s Full Council meeting, “Local authority budgets have been cut for the fifth consecutive year. Since 2010/11 our grant from the government has reduced by £3.269 million - 52.36% meaning we have needed to take a different, longer-term approach to our budget planning. This year’s budget has again been shaped by the results of our consultation with residents, our partners and our staff, reflecting their priorities.

Stevenage Borough Councillors also heard this evening about proposals to spend this year’s New Homes Bonus.

“As an award for another successful year of housing delivery, we have received £1.261 million. We are proposing to use this money to fund a series of initiatives that will benefit many community members. These include a £40,000 investment in our No More project, which helps people address problems caused by their drug and alcohol addictions; and additional staff to support our work tackling both domestic abuse and anti-social behaviour.

“I am also recommending that we use £195,000 to help maintain our clean and green environment by providing new litter and dog bins, renovating and rejuvenating shrub and hedge beds, and cleaning paved areas.

“In addition, as I’m sure you all know, the world’s biggest women’s cycling race is coming to Stevenage this summer. The council has the support of many other Stevenage organisations in financing the Women’s Tour stage 4 finish in the High Street, but I will also be allocating some additional funding to enable us to organise a range of community initiatives to celebrate the tour.”

On top of these commitments, Cllr Taylor also announced a review to simplify the way the council asks residents to recycle, plus a resident discount scheme to reduce the cost of parking when visiting the town centre.

Concluding the budget announcement for 2015/16, Cllr Taylor said, “Stevenage Borough Council understands the need to act locally to do what we can to grow the local economy and to support our community in these difficult times. I am pleased that - together - we are managing to cope with the largest cuts ever to local government while still managing to do good things for the town.”

ends

Notes to editors:

The total Council Tax bill for Stevenage for 2015/2016 will be:

Band A          £984.96
Band B          £1,149.11
Band C          £1,313.27
Band D          £1,477.43
Band E          £1,805.75
Band F          £2,134.07
Band G          £2,462.39
Band H          £2,954.86

For every pound of council tax paid, Hertfordshire County Council gets 77p, Hertfordshire Police get 10p and Stevenage Borough Council gets 13p.