Council tax freeze rubber stamped by SCDC

PLANS to invest �28m in public housing, freeze council tax and promote business in south Cambs were rubber stamped yesterday (Thursday).

Senior members at South Cambs District Council agreed the move which will see the authority accept a one-off grant from central government in exchange for not increasing its precept.

Accepting the sweetner means �470,000 of savings will be needed in 15 months’ time but the authority - which has saved �4m over the last three years - pledged to protect frontline services while making cuts.

The largest programme of building new council-owned homes in the district since the 1950s was also given the backing of cabinet.

Which will see �28m ploughed into the project over the next 10 years.

Cllr Ray Manning, leader of the authority, said: “This is a budget that has been proposed by listening to our communities and understanding their wishes and future aspirations.

“Although South Cambridgeshire is consistently recognised as one of the best places to live and work in the country with a thriving economy, we understand many residents are still struggling to make ends meet due to the national downturn and the right decision for us was to freeze council tax for a second year running.”

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Community transport schemes, a �20,000 investment in supporting business and a �50k broadband boost is also on the table.

But not all councillors in the district are too enamoured with the spending plans with Cllr Deb Roberts , independent representative for Fowlmere and Foxton, hitting out at the plans.

“I suppose we are in difficult times but I very much hope that South Cambs really focuses it energy on the most vulnerable in our society, the elderly,” she said.

“I’m very concerned about the future of the sheltered housing schemes and how the budget affects this.

“I just think that quite honestly the council has over the years spent some very considerable money its new headquarters and that money would be better in the bank for hard times like now.”

Cllr Roberts also said she was concerned about the future of people in the villages fearing it was “going to get more and more difficult in the coming year”.

As well as hitting out at money spent on global warming claiming there has been none for 14 years.

The proposed budget will now be considered at as meeting of the full council on February 23.