Cumbria County Council has approved its budget for 2008/9. This confirms that the county council's share of council tax will increase by 3.9% from April - the second lowest increase in Cumbria since council tax was introduced in 1993 and representing a rise of just 11 pence a day on a Band D property.
Councillors have also approved a financial roadmap for Cumbria for the subsequent two years which will mean council tax should increase by just 3.5% in 2009/10 and 2010/11.
The county council has been able to plan further ahead than ever before because the Revenue Support Grant announced by Government covers the next three financial years. The last RSG announcement in 2005 covered a two-year period, and before that it was an annual announcement.
Cllr Tim Stoddard, Leader of Cumbria County Council, said:
"We're spending the public's money where it really counts - this includes maintaining and improving Cumbria's roads, caring for older people, becoming greener in the way we dispose of our waste, improving our children's education, buying new books for libraries, and making Cumbria a safer place by reducing fire risks and educating people about road safety. This is a balanced budget which invests, improves and saves in the areas that really matter."
Cllr Joan Stocker, Deputy Leader and Cabinet member responsible for Finance, Performance and Resources, said:
"This budget lays a robust financial base which allows us to spend people's money where it will make a difference and, at the same time, make provision for the potential liabilities we face over Equal Pay claims and implementing single status. Council tax rises have been kept to a minimum and the council is now more efficient than ever before - the proof in this is the £32m in efficiencies we've generated since April 2005. We're planning our finances further ahead than ever and this budget is the best possible balance of keeping council tax as low as possible, investing in services that matter to Cumbrians and ensuring the council is financially robust enough to cope with future issues."
A briefing document outlying key points in this year's budget is attached and the full budget papers agreed at a Full Council meeting today can be viewed at http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/council-democracy/.
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