SKDC Cabinet recommends freeze on council tax

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Cabinet members at South Kesteven District Council are recommending a freeze on council tax for the financial year 2014/15 and have welcomed proposals for a new multiplex cinema in Grantham.

Council Leader Linda Neal has outlined the cabinet’s recommendation to choose to take the government’s freeze grant option on council tax that will see no increase on 2013/14 charges for properties in all bands.

The average council tax for the South Kesteven element of the bill is £127.47 for 12 months, but most properties in the district are in bands A and B where the annual charge is £84.98 and £99.14 respectively.

Full council will now vote on the proposal at a meeting on Monday, March 3.

Speaking after a vote in favour of the proposals at Cabinet, Coun Neal said: “We did consult with the community on the potential for a 1.75% increase in council tax. It’s through lots of hard work and diligence we find ourselves now being able to recommend something that has much less impact on the community than we originally thought would be possible.

“We believe we will be able to deliver a balanced budget without the necessity to increase the council tax at all. I don’t think we should underestimate the achievement that has been made in these really tough times.

“But we do need to continue and make considerable savings because the following year, after the one we are preparing for, is likely to be the toughest yet but we should be proud for what we’ve achieved for the community.”

SKDC’s portfolio holder for well run council, Coun Mike Taylor, said: “We have made savings of £2.3 million since the financial year 2010-11. We are aware of the financial pressures on every household and are pleased to recommend to full council to freeze council tax bills in still testing economic times, carefully watching budgets whilst protecting our frontline services.”

Cllr Neal also talked positively about SKDC’s Cabinet backing proposals for a new multiplex cinema on St Catherine’s Road in Grantham.

She said: “Whilst this is a significantly larger project it is about diversifying the offer and the quality of the offer and that diversification and the increase in the quality actually leads to better investment in localities.

“It will be a significant asset to Grantham and the district as well. Lots of people will be driving out of the district to go to the cinema and hopefully this new facility will retain them. I acknowledge it’s an ambitious project and delivering of this size is not something we have done routinely.

“I look forward to the day when we can welcome the cinema which will be a springboard to new businesses around it.”

Plans are now being drawn up by architects for the potential £6m development set to regenerate part of the town centre. In addition to the six screen cinema, it proposes three restaurants and 21,000 square feet of office space on two floors above them.