Hereford & Worcester

Worcestershire's council tax frozen despite budget cuts

Worcestershire County Council has decided to freeze council tax for a second successive year despite needing to make £21m worth of savings.

The Conservative-led authority instead opted to take a £5.5m government grant to go towards an overall £331m budget.

It means Band D households will continue to pay £1,039.06 in 2012/13.

Cuts are likely to made to library services, youth clubs and adult social care. Opposition parties have been critical of the plans.

Council leader, Adrian Hardman, said they had been planning for the change in budget for a long time.

'Too slow'

He said: "I think we have the pace correct because what we didn't want to do was take on too much of a challenge initially.

"I know some political parties think we're moving too slowly.

"I'm convinced we are delivering a balanced budget with robust finances at the county council."

But Liberal Democrats leader Liz Tucker wanted more money to be saved from top-level salaries.

Ms Tucker said: "We were suggesting they took a modest 5% out of senior management costs together with some other smaller matters and that we re-invested that to be able to fund bus passes for all 16 to 19-year-olds and to provide more support for carers."

Labour councillor Peter McDonald said he was "dismayed" by the detail of the budget.

"Every year we're told it's good for us," he said.

"More people being sacked, more families being put into poverty and no contribution at all to the local economy in Worcestershire."

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