Mansfield tax freeze ‘will help’ thaw town’s economy

HOUSEHOLDERS in Mansfield will not face a rise in Council Tax after councillors agreed to freeze the bill for the coming financial year.

At a full meeting of Mansfield District Council last Tuesday, the authority rubber-stamped plans not to raise its share of the tax for 2012-13.

The decision means that residents will pay no more for council services for the second consecutive year meaning the average ‘Band D’ home in the area will again pay £184.72.

The freeze means that Mansfield District Council will receive a £147,000 grant from the Government (the equivalent of a 2.5 per cent Council Tax rise) as part of its decision not to raise the bill.

Coun Roger Sutcliffe, portfolio holder for resources and Deputy Mayor, said that the Council Tax is being set in tough economic challenging times and reflects the authority’s commitment to protecting residents and businesses in the area.

“Hard decisions have had to be made but we have endeavoured to give residents choice as to how they spend their money while encouraging them to shop in Mansfield,” he said.

“We are living in times of austerity and we are having to make difficult and painful decisions, when the Government is going to give us £147,000, we felt we could not burden the people of Mansfield with a rise in Council Tax, I did not feel that it was appropriate.

“If we did raise the tax, people do not have any choice but to pay it, whereas with brown bins (where residents can pay £25 a year to have their garden waste collected) people have a choice.

“But people are really feeling the pinch at the moment and we need to make sure that Mansfield is as resilient as possible to the present economic climate.

“This means keeping people in jobs and making sure people have money in their pockets.

“I can understand there were some people who did not want to freeze the tax but I cannot imagine any residents would want to pay more.”

Coun Martin Lee, leader of the majority-holding Labour group, says the the party would have liked to see a modest rise in Council Tax as he believes another Government grant may not be available next year.

Coun Lee said a small rise this year would have helped the authority keep pace with maintaining services and fears that next year the Council Tax increase could be more than 2.5 per cent.

“An (Council Tax) increase of 2.5 per cent only equates to around £5 more for the average ‘Band D’ property in Mansfield compared to the council charging £25 for the brown bin collections,” he said.

He added that the council’s decision to introduce the brown bin scheme had meant the Labour Party did not oppose the Council Tax freeze, as members did not want to cause any further financial difficulty to residents in the current economic climate.

Plans to freeze this year’s Council Tax were drawn up in January and the decision was sealed with a vote by councillors last Tuesday evening.

The overall tax freeze means that householders living in a Band A property will pay Nottinghamshire County Council £795.45, Nottinghamshire Police Authority £110.94 and Nottinghamshire Fire Authority £46.46.