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By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 22 February 2013 Updated: 22/02 10:03
COUNCIL tax bills for Redditch residents are set to be kept on hold for the third year running.
Redditch Borough Council voted to freeze its portion of the bill this week, following similar decisions by Worcestershire County Council, West Mercia Police and Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service.
It means the bill for a Band D property from April will remain at £1,500.60 while those in Feckenham will pay £1,523.43.
The measure was approved as part of the council's budget for the next financial year, which will also include having to make savings of £283,000 during 2013/14 and over £1.4million the year after.
Renegotiating contracts, extending the number of services shared with Bromsgrove District Council and transforming departments so they run more efficiently are among the plans to cut costs.
Council leader Bill Hartnett said it had been a 'particularly difficult' year for finance officers as the confirmation about how much the authority would receive from the Government had been late.
But Coun Carole Gandy said the controlling Labour group had been protected from making 'tough decisions' by the choices made when the Conservatives were in power from 2008 until last year.
"When we were in control we obviously took some very difficult decisions, I believe those were the right decisions," she said.
"Now you are in control you know the decisions we took made sense so you are continuing the same policies. These policies are saving you over £1.3 million per year. Where would you have been if we had not taken those decisions?
"We did more in four years to safeguard services in this town than you did in the previous 20 years.
"You should be thanking us as the situation if you had remained in power would be far worse. You have taken very few difficult decisions and it's been left to officers to find savings through transformation and redundancies. These is a real risk these savings might not be reached."
Coun Greg Chance said although the settlement from Government had been worse than expected, their budget last year had been less than the one originally proposed by the Conservatives meaning they had allowed for the reduction.
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