Dorset

West Dorset District Council bids to freeze council tax

A Dorset local authority is proposing to freeze council tax for the next financial year despite its government grant being slashed by more than £1m.

Conservative-led West Dorset District Council's grant was cut by £1,135,000.

But it said it had saved about £866,000 by reducing management costs and sharing services with other councils.

If councillors vote in favour of the freeze on 1 March, the authority's share of the average council tax bill will be frozen at £124.80 in 2011/12.

Households living in Band A properties can expect to pay £83.20 and those in Band H - the highest - will pay £249.60 again.

However, long stay parking charges are expected to rise by 40p.

'Trimmed budgets'

Fees for an all day stay at Fairfield car park in Dorchester will jump from £1.60 to £2.

From April, various car parks in Bridport will charge £1.70 for up to three hours, instead of £1.30.

A spokesman said: "The big saving is £866,000 from ongoing efficiency reviews across council services.

"The rest is made up of additional efficiency savings identified more recently this year - largely IT-related."

Council leader Robert Gould said: "Councillors and staff have spent recent years preparing for the anticipated squeeze on public spending.

"The council has cut costs through joint working and trimmed budgets to protect essential services."

The local authority collects the whole bill, but only keeps about 8% of the total.

The remainder is passed to Dorset County Council, the police and fire and rescue service.

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