Council tax frozen and cash boost for Leyland

Leader of South Ribble Council, Margaret Smith
Leader of South Ribble Council, Margaret Smith

Council tax in South Ribble has been frozen for the next financial year, despite Government grants being slashed.

South Ribble Council announced in its annual budget this week it will freeze its share of council tax for 2013/14, after a controversial increase last year.

It has also pledged to invest more in community safety, such as CCTV cameras across the borough, and continue to help fund Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) in the area.

Plans for the next 12 months also involve injecting cash into parks and open spaces, and focusing on further regeneration schemes for Leyland.

Council leader Margaret Smith said the council had started to come some way to ‘weathering the difficult times’ that all local authorities have faced under national funding cuts.

She said: “Things are a bit doom and gloom in some places but we feel quite optimistic in South Ribble.

“We’re looking forward to supporting residents by freezing council tax and freezing parking charges to help traders. Hopefully that will stimulate the economy.

“Our employees put in more than they have to and go the extra mile to make sure we give the best services to our residents.

“One of our priorities is continuing to fund our share of PCSOs, and we are putting £15,000 towards maintaining CCTV cameras, as well as a further £15,000 in replacing out-of-date cameras, so they will all be working properly.

“One of the things which is particularly exciting is we are investing £100,000 a year for the next four years towards improving our parks, on top of normal maintenance.”

New regeneration schemes are planned for Penwortham, Longton and New Longton, and £290,000 has been earmarked for further improvements to Leyland town centre in 2014/15.

This will mark phase three of the boost for Leyland, following on from regeneration efforts in the town over the past few years.

To make up for the council tax freeze, which means Band D property residents will continue to pay £208.30 per year to South Ribble Council out of their total tax bill of around £1,500, the council has accepted a one-year Council Tax Freeze Grant worth £72,000 from the government.

South Ribble Council keeps around 13p from every pound from council tax, with the rest going to Lancashire County Council, the Police and Crime Commissioner, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, town and parish councils.

Last year, Band D property owners paid £1,108.30 to Lancashire County Council, £149.93 to the police, £63.65 to the fire service, and £208.30 to South Ribble Council - a total of £1,530.18.

The amount of council tax other authorities will be collecting this year is yet to be confirmed.

- For more on the budget, see this week’s Leyland Guardian.