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Borough of Poole Freezes Council Tax

Councillors have agreed to freeze council tax in Poole for 2013/14.

Following an amendment proposed by the Liberal Democrats and Poole People, which was approved 22-20, the final budget for 2013/14 was then approved, with 41 members voting in favour, and one abstention.

The original budget proposed to increase the council's element of the council tax by 1.95%. However, the decision to accept a grant from government will see council tax for Borough of Poole services frozen at £1209.60 for a Band D property.

The council tax freeze means that, following an increase in the Police and Fire Authority parts of the council tax, a Band D property will pay £1458.45 in total for their council tax next year, an increase of £8.46 overall, or 0.58%.

Cllr Elaine Atkinson, Leader of the Council, Borough of Poole, said: "While households across Poole will no doubt be pleased that the council has frozen council tax, this decision places us in a difficult financial position. We were already looking at savings of £13m over the next two years and last night's decision increases that to almost £17m straight away.

"It is vital that Members work together to implement this budget and I will be meeting with opposition Leaders in the coming days to discuss the best way forward."

Cllr Mike Brooke, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Borough of Poole, said: "Although we are pleased that council tax will be frozen, we still have a difficult task ahead of us to find savings and continue to deliver high quality services. Following last night's decision, the priority for Members across the council must be to ensure we have a stable administration going forward and it is essential that all parties now work together in the best interests of our residents."

Cllr Mark Howell, Leader of Poole People, Borough of Poole, said: "This is only the first step. A radical overhaul of how the Council operates is necessary if we are to maintain service levels in difficult times. This will require Councillors to put aside political allegiances and work together. It will also require the Leader, Cabinet and Chief Executive to change their approach and involve Councillors at an early stage in policy and project development."

Council tax bills will be sent out to residents from 15 March 2013.