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Tax frozen, car parking charges cut
LOWER parking charges and a freeze on council tax were among the budget proposals rubberstamped by Wychavon District Council’s cabinet this week.
The budget for 2013/14 was decided on Tuesday, with councillors expressing their disappointment at a “harsh”
government ‘settlement’ – the amount the council gets from Whitehall.
Councillor Bob Banks presented the budget, suggesting a freeze on council tax at £108.44 and a £150,000 community flood initiative programme over three years using funds from year two of New Homes Bonus funding.
He said the budget process for 2013/14 had not been as straightforward as in recent years. “We had the drama of a late settlement following a delayed autumn statement,”
he said. “But perhaps more significantly, we were disappointed the settlement was not a little more generous.
“Not only had local government been promised a break in 2013/14, there had also been a strong indication there would be fairer funding for rural councils. Neither have come true. We must face more difficult choices over the next two years.”
He said the council had healthy funds but would use around £674,000 from general reserves during 2013/14.
One of the major proposals will see charges at Wychavon car parks cut from £6 to £4 a day, with season tickets reduced from £600 to £400. Monthly tickets will fall from £60 to £40.
Other proposals included supporting at least 130 more businesses by March 2015 through start-up grants and advice and working with South Worcestershire College in Evesham to set up an engineering training centre.
The council also plans to look at further proposals involving the use of the former Evesham Leisure Centre, which is currently earmarked in the South Worcestershire Development Plan for 36 homes.
It also hopes to halve the number of homeless people in bed and breakfast accommodation and get 2,500 more households involved in its garden waste scheme.
Coun Banks said: “We are fortunate to have healthy balances which allow us this flexibility and the ability to make important decisions properly rather than in a hurried manner. Not only this, but we are also supporting our more vulnerable residents.”