Council tax freeze for majority

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COUNCILLORS are set to meet to finalise council tax bills for the next year with the vast majority of taxpayers facing a freeze.

Hartlepool Borough Council recently agreed to freeze its own council tax level at a meeting of the full council but the final bills will be finalised this evening once fire and police precepts have been included.

Last year residents were faced with a 2.6 per cent rise, which added between £28 and £85 to council tax bills, but residents are set for some respite this year in the wake of severe budget cuts to public services.

It means that from April, anyone living in a Band A property in Hartlepool will continue to pay £1,113.68 a year, while residents in a house in Band D will continue to pay £1,670.51.

Homeowners living in the most expensive Band H properties will continue to pay £3,341.02.

Councillors agreed to freeze the local authority’s council tax level in order for the council to qualify for a new Government grant of about £1m, equivalent to raising the 2010-11 level by 2.5 per cent.

Ahead of the meeting, Cleveland Fire Authority has also agreed to freeze its council tax precept, while the Cleveland Police Authority, which is expected to do the same, was due to meet this morning.

Residents living in the parishes of Dalton Piercy, Greatham, Headland and Newton Bewley face a minimal increase of between 1p and about a £1, but the vast majority of residents in Hartlepool will see no change to their council tax bills for next year.

Meanwhile, people living in Hart and Elwick have seen their bills go down by a minimal amount.

A report to the meeting said: “In accordance with statutory requirements the council needs to approve the overall council tax, inclusive of the police and fire authority precepts.

“Both the fire and police authorities are eligible to receive the council tax freeze grant if they maintain their individual council taxes at the levels set in the current year.

“The Fire Authority set its precept and agreed to freeze its council tax on February, 4.

“The Police Authority is scheduled to set its precept and council tax this morning. It is currently anticipated that the Police Authority will also freeze its council tax.” The table shows council tax levels for each property band, assuming the Cleveland Police Authority decide to freeze their precept.

Councillors are set to meet tonight at the civic centre, in Victoria Road, to agree the final council tax bills for the 2011-12 financial year.

The meeting gets under way at 7pm and members of the public are welcome to attend.

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