Is The ‘Freeze’ To Be Paid For Out Of Reserves?

Ground-breaking alliance set for go-ahead – hard-pressed families to benefit immediately
A ground-breaking partnership between two Derbyshire councils is set to benefit thousands of families immediately – with the authorities announcing plans to freeze Council Tax bills from 1st April.The Alliance, between Bolsover and North East Derbyshire District Councils, will be signed on Tuesday 1st March, and will see the councils reducing their costs by appointing a joint Chief Executive and senior managers.

The move will aim to save around £1.5m each year, allowing the authorities to protect services in the light of big Government grant cuts – and freeze Council Tax bills at their current levels. Once the agreement is signed on 1st March the councils will move quickly to appoint a joint Chief Executive, and the partnership will be officially launched on 1st April. However, they will keep their own separate geographical, administrative and political identities, and local people will continue to receive their services from their respective council.

Leader of Bolsover District Council, Councillor Eion Ian Watts, said that the 80,000 households across the two districts will benefit from the Alliance immediately, with both authorities announcing that Council Tax bills will not increase on 1st April.

“Families across our region are being hammered during the recession and they need the support of their local council now more than ever,” said Cllr Ian Watts. “The problem for local councils is that we’ve been hammered too, with massive cuts to our Government grants – however, this partnership means we can protect frontline services and keep Council Tax bills low by cutting our senior management costs.”

Councillor Graham Baxter MBE, Leader of North East Derbyshire District Council, said: “This is a historic moment for Bolsover and North East Derbyshire. Both areas are facing unprecedented cuts to their Government grants, and this partnership will enable us to continue to support our communities by safeguarding the essential, high quality services that local people rely on.”

As well as sharing senior manager costs, the councils will look at further ways to save money without affecting the quality of services that local people rely on. For example, this could involve joining some services together to pool resources and expertise. The authorities already operate successful shared services across a number of areas, including procurement and IT.

Date issued: 24th February 2011′

Bolsover has already told residents that no savings will be made in the first year, presumably because of the costs of redundancies etc. So, the council tax ‘freeze’ to help hard pressed families must be being paid for out of reserves. They must think people are so stupid not to realise that this propaganda is just to buy votes leading upto the elections in May.  

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