Residents face 4.5 per cent tax rise

PUBLISHED: 12:40 16 February 2006 | UPDATED: 14:35 12 May 2010

COUNCIL tax in Royston could rise by 4.5 per cent next year despite nearly £1.5 million of council cuts. The budget was revealed at a North Herts District Council meeting on Thursday. Play and developmental schemes are likely to have funding cut by £15,00

COUNCIL tax in Royston could rise by 4.5 per cent next year despite nearly £1.5 million of council cuts. The budget was revealed at a North Herts District Council meeting on Thursday. Play and developmental schemes are likely to have funding cut by £15,000, subsidies to supported bus routes will be withdrawn and meals-on-wheels will be changed to a frozen-only service instead of hot meals. There are also plans to axe a dial-and-ride service - transport for over-85s unable to use public transport - and raise almost £400,000 by increasing off-street parking charges by 40 per cent. Conservative finance portfolio holder Cllr Terry Hone told The Crow: "There are no major cuts to services. "Front-line services have been protected, but we have had to find £1.8 million of savings because of the increase in tasks set upon us by central government. "We've found the vast majority of savings needed, which does mean there will be an increase in some charges, but we are doing the right thing," he said. The Liberal Democrat group suggested amendments aimed at "cutting the cost of bureaucracy" which included the vacating premises in Letchworth. They claim this would avoid "cutting services to young people and the elderly, without any extra increase in council tax". Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Steve Jarvis, said: "Over the last three years the council has wasted more than a million pounds on office accommodation. "Clearly the Conservatives prefer to spend the money on overheads and empty offices rather than services for the public." Labour spokesman Cllr David Billing said: "There's been a lot of cutting of services and a lot of threats of cutting services for the following year in this budget." He said proposed Labour amendments would have balanced as they were to be funded with £100,000 from the council's reserves. "We wanted included additional growth for a proper transport strategy to try and do something about congestion and extra funds for community support officers. "As it is, the budget is short-sighted.

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