County council agrees freeze in share of bills

COUNTY councillors have signed off their budget plans for 2012/13 – which include a freeze in council tax bills.

The finance package was approved at a full meeting of Lincolnshire County Council on Friday and members believe they have managed to agree a deal that protects frontline services as well as make savings in light of tough Government cuts.

Both Boston borough and Lincolnshire county councils are taking a special Government grant to hold their portion of the tax bills at the current rate.

Coun Kelly Smith, executive member for finance and HR, said: “This is a difficult time for everyone financially, and we feel it’s important to do all we can to make life easier for our residents.

“That’s why we’re freezing council tax for the second year running.”

The county council is facing a big fall in the ‘formula grant’ it gets from the Government. In 2012/13 the authority is set to recive 7.6 per cent – or 16.1 per cent – less.

Coun Smith added: “In the last year, the council has made savings of over £50m.

“And we’ve achieved this without severe cuts to frontline services or large-scale compulsory redundancies, relying instead on making the council ever more efficient.

“Despite our tough financial position, we have again protected services that have an impact on public safety, things like child protection, the fire service, and road maintenance.

“And we also continue to invest in major infrastructure projects, such as the Lincoln Eastern Bypass and next-generation broadband, which will pave the way for renewed prosperity in Lincolnshire.”

Opposition Labour councillors had called on the authority to halt its cuts to adult social care and spend £600,000 on keeping its day centre – including six in Boston borough open. The future of those should be clear at a meeting on March 6.