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No rise in Breckland council tax

PUBLISHED: 12:00 30 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:39 07 July 2010

Council tax in Breckland has been frozen at the lowest rate in the country after members agreed the authority's budget for 2010-11.

Families will see no rise in the amount they pay for services provided by the district council for the next two years, following a unanimous vote at a full council meeting.

Council tax in Breckland has been frozen at the lowest rate in the country after members agreed the authority's budget for 2010-11.

Families will see no rise in the amount they pay for services provided by the district council for the next two years, following a unanimous vote at a full council meeting.

Deputy leader William Smith said the decision to freeze council tax at the base rate of £64.05 for a band D property was made after consultation with the public.

Breckland's chief accountant Mark Finch sought to allay fears that the cuts would undermine the authority's ability to provide public services.

He said: “There are a number of elements outside the council's control but we have reviewed them and undertaken substantive measures and we're confident we can manage them. I can report we're in a healthy position.”

Mr Smith added: “The council has performed very well over the past 12 months, we've worked within this budget which allows us to continue this work.”

The council tax freeze comes despite a pledge to increase spending on services by £253,000, and £12m tied up in collapsed Icelandic banks of which only £1.25m has been returned so far.

The rate agreed by Breckland will be added to rates set by Norfolk County Council, Norfolk's police and fire authorities and town or parish councils.

However, before the budget was agreed, the Conservative majority came under fire from leader of the opposition Robin Goreham, Labour councillor for central Dereham, who said money spent on fighting against proposals to bring in a Norfolk-wide unitary authority was a waste. Breckland was one of three district councils which launched a High Court appeal against the Boundary Committee last year.

He said: “We are disappointed by the time, money and effort expended by the council in opposing the Local Government Review for Norfolk. We find the exercise wholly negative with the results hard to quantify.”

But council leader William Nunn argued the expenditure was necessary to maintain the council's existence. He said: “I agree money spent fighting the local government review is a waste - but we have to continue to fight on behalf of people Norfolk wide.”

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