Tuesday, 7 March 2006

Extra investment and free travel in new Council budget

REDCAR and Cleveland Council has approved a 4.7 per cent increase in Council Tax levels and agreed another 4.75million in extra investment, including a £2m commitment to provide free concessionary travel across Teesside.

The budget provides free travel benefits for the Borough's 14,000 concessionary passholders from April 1.

The Council is also investing £600,000 in older people's services, £500,000 for Safer Stronger Communities and over £1m in services for vulnerable children and young families.
More than 100 extra car parking spaces are planned for Kirkeatham Street, to help ease parking congestion in the town centre.

The four star excellent Council is seeking further improvements in services that give better value for money and greater efficiency.

Council Tax could have been reduced by as much as 6.7% had the Government not got its sums wrong and given us the grant support their own methodology says we should have. They are robbing efficient councils to subsidise inefficient ones.

The effect on the Council adds up to a burden of almost £5m. The bill for additional duties imposed on the Council totals £1.7m - a 3.6% increase on Council Tax. The incorrect population figures cost the Council £1.5m - another 3.5% Council Tax increase. Changes to Government grant formula adds another £1.7m - a further 3.6% increase.

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