BOURNEMOUTH council is cutting its share of council tax bills for a second year, to ensure residents do not have to pay any extra.
The council has decided to absorb increases agreed by Dorset Police and Dorset Fire and Rescue to freeze overall council tax bills for a fourth successive year.
Cllr Beesley, leader of the council, said it was “unhelpful” that Dorset Police and Dorset Fire Authority had chosen to raise their precents by 1.96 per cent and 1.93 per cent respectively.
But he said Bournemouth would reduce their share of bills by 0.4 per cent to support “squeezed” households.
Last year, Bournemouth council cut its share of the council tax by 0.7 per cent to absorb precept rises of 8.2 per cent and 1.95 per cent by fire and police respectively.
Bournemouth’s Government grant is being cut by 10.63 per cent in 2014/15, giving the council almost £7.4million less to spend on services.
Further grant reductions are expected in 2015/16, which will mean an overall reduction of 47 per cent between 2010 and 2015/6.
Cllr Beesley said: “Despite these severely challenging times, our approach and persistence allows us to continue to provide quality services to all residents, and in particular to address the issues that are of greatest important to those who live in our town – making Bournemouth safer, protecting vulnerable adults and children, improving the amenities of the town, increasing the availability of quality housing that is affordable, and regenerating the borough’s most deprived areas.”
The biggest strain on Bournemouth’s budget is adult and children’s social care, which in 2014/15 will account for 64 per cent of the council’s entire budget. “We will continue to press the Government for a national solution to the provision and funding of adult social care,” said Cllr Beesley.
“This is all the more urgent in Bournemouth with higher than average numbers of older people, many of whom, in due course, will run out of funds to sustain their own care packages and will look to the local authority for help.”
The proposed budget will go before cabinet next Tuesday (FEB 18) and full council on Tuesday, February 25.