Council tax falls amid cuts

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Most households in the Lancaster district will pay less council tax from April.

Bills for those in areas which do not have parish councils will fall by just over 1 per cent.

That means an average Band D household will pay £15 less during the 2013/14 financial year.

The money goes to four sources: Lancaster City Council (13 per cent), Lancashire County Council (74 per cent), the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner (9 per cent and Lancashire Fire Authority (4 per cent).

Households in areas with a parish council also pay a small extra sum to it meaning that some will see an increase in their overall bills depending on its levy.

The county council has reduced its share of council tax for the first time in more than 30 years.

The Conservative-run council has cut its levyl by 2 per cent.

Council leader Geoff Driver said reducing administration and bureaucracy had cut £215m from its budget.

Public authorities have again faced cuts in Government grant funding and the county council has warned it may have to cut as much as £200m over the next three years.

Its budget includes funding for 48 PCSOs, a £5m centre of excellence for people with dementia at Bowgreave Rise in Garstang and a £3.3m programme to retrain people who have lost their jobs.

Lancaster city councillors and the police commissioner have each increased their share of the total council tax bill by just under the 2 per cent threshold which would require a local referendum to be held before the increase is agreed.

The city council had frozen its levy in the previous two years, Labour council leader Eileen Blamire has said the financial outlook is “incredibly bleak” and that freezing council tax again would have an “unacceptable impact” on services.

She said the council was raising its share of council tax because big efficiency savings have already been made and the authority face d a “huge cut” next year.

Its spending plans, which were expected to be confirmed at a full council meeting as the Lancaster Guardian went to press, include:

* £196,000 for the Square Routes scheme, which will improve public spaces in Lancaster city centre.

* £47,000 to improve local playgrounds.

* £75,000 to improve Williamson Park.

* £30,000 to improve Salt Ayre Sports Centre.

* £278,000 to upgrade sea and river flood defences.

* £36,000 for improvements to Morecambe promenade.