Rugby Borough Council freeze council tax for a fourth year in a row

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Rugby Borough Council’s share of residents’ council tax bills is to be frozen for the fourth year in a row, after councillors set the authority’s budget for 2013/14 last night (Tuesday).

The freeze means that the average charge for a Band D property will be £187.88 for the year - a small increase of 70p due to increases in parish council precepts.

The 2013/14 budget includes: £500,000 for scheme design and consultation on town centre pedestrianisation, which will make the historic clock tower a centre-piece of the town centre once again and help to unite the two halves of the town - giving a much-needed boost to independent retailers. This matches a similar commitment given by Warwickshire County Council earlier this month.

£10,000 to underwrite the Police and Crime Commissioner’s contribution to the Community Safety Partnership budget in order to maintain the Partnership’s position as one of the best performing in the country. The shortfall may come about if the Police and Crime Commissioner is unable to maintain his existing support for the Partnership.

£15,000 over two years to support a Local Enterprise Partnership scheme to boost skills and advanced manufacturing enterprise research and development, with a focus on the Ansty Manufacturing Technology Centre, leading to 5000 new engineering jobs.

£5000 each to the Chamber of Commerce to provide training to new business start-ups, and to the CAB to provide customers with financial capability training, where residents are struggling to make ends meet.

Councillors heard that the freeze had been achieved with no cuts to services and no compulsory redundancies, and despite an overall reduction in central government funding of more than 28 per cent since 2011.

Cllr Craig Humphrey, Leader of Rugby Borough Council, told the meeting: “In these difficult times it is no longer sufficient for councils to passively announce that they are ‘open for business’ - they have to put in the hard graft to attract inward investment. Not all are prepared or able to do this - I’m proud to say that Rugby is - and does.

“That means having the right ethos and culture. It means being prepared to stand up and challenge other organisations where their outdated practices act as impediments to development.

“It means having a commitment to the wellbeing of our residents and, just as importantly, future generations. That means providing a supply of housing, providing somewhere to work, somewhere to shop, somewhere for leisure - all set in a clean and safe quality environment.”

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Humphrey added: “We have reduced the council’s net spending with a minimal impact on front-line service delivery

“The budget we have adopted is a prudent and balanced budget with no tax increase for the borough council for the fourth year running.”

Independently of Rugby’s budget setting, Warwickshire County Council and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire have already set their budgets. The County Council has frozen Council Tax for another year and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner has also chosen to freeze its Council Tax for 2013/14.

This brings the total Average Band D Council Tax in Rugby to £1,524.09 from £1,523.39. This is an overall increase of around 0.05 per cent - a rise of 70 pence per year, just under 6p per month or just over a penny per week. The actual charge and percentage increase will vary depending if you live in the town or in a Parish area, the actual band for the property and if any discounts or exemptions are applicable.