East Cambs District Council is freezing council tax for eighth year in a row
- Credit: HARRY RUTTER
Having "been able to balance the budget", East Cambs District Council is to freeze council tax for the eighth year running.
The overall council tax bill that residents pay is divided and goes towards a range of public services.
These include the district council, the county council, parish/town/city council and emergency services such as the police and fire service.
Councillor Anna Bailey, council leader, said: “I appreciate this is a modest contribution to helping household budgets but with a balanced budget for the next two years this is the right thing to do.
“We are a small local authority, but I have been so proud of the way our staff have risen to the challenge of the last 12 months.
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“They have not only kept services going throughout the pandemic, but we have also stepped up to respond to the new needs of residents and businesses as a result of COVID-19.
“We’ve worked hard to keep our residents safe, working hand-in-hand and supporting the endeavours of our community hubs who are reaching the district’s most vulnerable, as well as assisting businesses through effective and efficient distribution of Government grants.
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“Our waste and recycling crews have kept a full service going throughout this time and the IT and planning teams ensured we were one of the first councils in the country to host online meetings.
“Despite the pandemic, the council has forged ahead with its corporate plan and we have had some successes to celebrate.
“The housing team achieved national recognition by the National Practitioner Support Service challenge, being awarded gold for their approach to homelessness prevention.
“New and refurbished affordable homes have been delivered at Haddenham Community Land Trust and at the ex-MOD site in Ely.
"Residents will also soon be moving into the first eight £100k homes to be built by Combined Authority in Cambridgeshire, which are located in Fordham.
“The council met its £1 million financial contribution to Ely Southern Bypass and work has also started on the new railway station at Soham, initiated by the district council and delivered by the Combined Authority.
“The council has also earmarked £750,000 of community infrastructure levy receipts from housing developments in north Ely to the expansion of St Mary’s Surgery.
"We are also working with our colleagues in the NHS to support the exciting redevelopment of the Princess of Wales Hospital in Ely.
“Our push to make this district a cleaner, greener East Cambs continues; our bus services review has been submitted to the Combined Authority following consultation with residents and the development of a cycling and walking routes strategy is underway.
"Natural environment and climate change supplementary planning documents have also been adopted, all of which contribute to our commitment and actions to reach net-zero carbon emissions as part of our Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan.
“At a time where our green spaces have played such an important part in our lives, both Ely Country Park and Jubilee Gardens have continued to be recognised as 'green flag' open spaces.
"That’s seven years running for Ely Country Park and an astounding 16 years for Jubilee Gardens.
“I am thankful for the progress we have been able to achieve over the past 12 months, when everyday life has been anything but normal.
“While I feel a huge sense of optimism underpinned by the vaccination rollout, the financial fall out from COVID-19 for our businesses, our residents and for the council itself is, as yet, unknown.
"There is much work to do on the council’s finances over the medium term, but it is right that we recognise the financial difficulties faced by many.
"We stick to our belief that raising council tax should only ever be used as a last resort.
"We have a balanced budget for the next two years and it is therefore right that we freeze the district council’s share of council tax for 2021/22, providing a little bit of certainty in an uncertain world.”