CHESHIRE West and Chester Council looks set to announce a two-year freeze on council tax.
At their budget meeting next Wednesday, councillors will be asked to approve the freeze for 2014-15 and agree the same for the following year.
If the proposal is accepted, the council’s standard Band D tax rate for 2014-15 will remain unchanged at £1,275.
Wirral, which could announce a 2% tax increase later today, already has a Band D charge £300 above the neighbouring council at £1,500.
A report says estimated savings of £49m – 20% of CWAC’s current budget – will be required over the next three years.
“Despite these pressures, the council is conscious of the need to ensure increases in council tax do not increase financial pressures on local residents,” said Cllr Les Ford, executive member for resources.
“As a result, the proposed budget freezes council tax for 2014-15 and suggests we do the same the following year.”
In 2014-15, savings totalling £24.5m will be needed to balance the books because £10.5m reduction in Government grant; inflation and costs totalling £8.5m and increased service costs of £5.2m.
Despite severe financial pressures, an extra £2.5m has been found to fund a rise of children in care.
Currently CWAC is a “corporate parent” to 438 children compared to 381 a year ago – the result of early intervention programmes designed to protect the most vulnerable youngsters.
An additional £3m extra funding will help towards the cost of an increasingly elderly population – over-65s are expected to increase by 10% in the next four years – and the provision of 484 extra care housing places.