Somerset

Taunton Deane Borough Council drops tax rise plan

Taunton Deane Borough Council has dropped its plan to raise its share of the council tax bill.

The Conservative-run council planned a 3.45% increase from April to support its regeneration aims, close the budget shortfall and protect future services.

But after meetings with the Liberal Democrats and some dissent from within the Tories, the rise has been scrapped.

The U-turn means all district councils and the county council in Somerset will freeze their share of council tax.

'Listening to people'

Taunton Deane council leader John Williams said: "We made that proposal because the finances of the council are deteriorating in the medium to long term and we did it to plan for the future.

"It's a matter of listening to people and understanding where they want to go with the council - I was trying to protect services in the future.

"But by members' representations, they would rather see us looking at cutting services than put up council tax."

Leader of the Liberal Democrats at the council Ross Henley said: "It's clear that the Lib Dems' highlighting of John Williams promise to freeze council tax at last year's council election has led to this U-turn by the Conservatives.

"Sadly although the Tories have now been forced to live up to their promise they are still going to make massive cuts in services."

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