Good news for council tax payers

Council tax is set to be frozen in Chorley for the second year in a row.

Chorley Council is one of the first authorities in Lancashire to make the pledge after the national budget cuts were announced.

It means homeowners will only face a slight increase on their bill, if any, as Lancashire County Council has already committed to maintaining its council tax levels over the next year.

They collect 75 per cent of the revenue, whilst the police and fire brigade, who are still to reveal their precept levels, receive 10 per cent and four per cent respectively.

Chorley Council receives 11 per cent of the figure that they are tasked with collecting every month.

Leader of the council, Coun Peter Goldsworthy said: "We realise that everyone in Chorley will be feeling the pinch and that's why we've decided to reassure residents that we won't be increasing our share of the council tax bill again this year.

"We are facing some tough decisions ahead but we felt it was right to listen to what residents have been saying and freeze council tax for the third time in five years – this is an average rise of just over one per cent since Chorley Conservatives came to power in 2006."

Council chiefs are now appealing for residents to have their say on how they think the budget should be spent over the coming year.

Coun Goldsworthy added: "Asking where residents want us to spend their money is an important part of the budget-setting process and it's important that people do take part.

"Over the last few years our priorities have been keeping council tax rises to a minimum while offering excellent value for money services and it's our aim to continue this in the coming year."

However, leader of the opposition, Coun Alistair Bradley said he believed the council was still over-spending at the Town Hall and he called for more money to be invested in frontline services.

He added: "I think the announcement on freezing the council tax level is premature as the budget has not been presented to the council or fully considered.

"The Labour Party would also freeze council tax, but we would look to invest an extra 200,000 in services as we think too much is being spent on senior management salaries and publicity for the council.

"The main priority for us would be to improve frontline services and making sure the money is invested into the communities and not at the Town Hall."

Chorley Council has already revealed that it will have to save 3m from its budget over the next three years as part of Government spending cuts, but has ring-fenced enough funding to retain the town's PCSOs.

To take part in the budget consultation visit: www.chorley.gov.uk/budget or contact the council on: 01257 515151 for a paper copy of the survey.

* christopher.maguire@lep.co.uk