Published: January 14, 2014
County Council plans to freeze council tax for Burnham residents

Council tax rates for residents in the Burnham-On-Sea area look set to be frozen for a fifth year by Somerset County Council as hard-pressed households face rocketing bills.

The Council is preparing its budget for the coming financial year and this includes proposals to freeze its proportion of council tax for a fifth year in a row.

Since 2009, average gas and electricity bills have increased by 52% and 33% respectively.

In contrast, the SCC portion of council tax for an average band D property tax was £1,027 in 2009 and remains exactly the same in 2014.

"We understand how tight it is for households across Somerset and it is important that we support people wherever we can," said Council Leader John Osman.

"Our income from government is down, but we face increasing calls on our services from people who need our help. It means we have to take tough decisions to live within our means – it’s the same as any household. When earnings go down, but bills go up, you have to cutback in some areas."

"But we remain determined to keep our share of council tax as low as we can for as long as we can. Five years in a row is a real testament to the rigorous way we manage our finances, and to the efficiencies and savings we have made over the past five years."

Over the past six months the Council has carried out an extensive consultation – called the balacing act into budgets and services. In that consultation, a survey of 1,000 people across Somerset showed that close to two thirds of those asked did not want to see council tax increased to protect council run services.

"We have consulted widely and listened to our residents who are clear that council tax levels should remain frozen as far as possible. People understand the tough financial position we are in and I am sure they will welcome this stand to help them out in these tough financial times."

The final budget will be voted on by councillors at their formal meeting on 19th February.

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