TEWKESBURY Borough Council has set out a 2016/17 budget plan which will keep its council tax at one of the lowest rates in the country.

On Wednesday February 3 the council’s executive committee will meet to discuss a £9.6m budget, which includes plans to increase council tax by the equivalent of £5 per year for a band D property.

The move from £99.36 to £104.36 per year will mean average band D households will pay an extra 10 pence per week for borough council services. These services include waste and recycling collections; flood defence work; managing parks and play areas; food and heath/safety inspections; benefits advice; housing and help for the homeless; elections; and more.

David Waters, lead member for finance, said: “The council has worked really hard over the last few years to achieve a five-year freeze in council tax while maintaining the services that residents care so much about. We’ve done this despite rising costs and the loss of over half of our core government funding, which has fallen from £5.35m received in 2010/11, to £2.57m planned for 2016/17.

“Using our Transform Tewkesbury Borough programme, we’ve been very creative about the way we run our services, and have delivered significant savings as a result. However, we’ve now reached a point where efficiencies will become difficult to achieve without affecting services to the public. A sixth year of seeing council tax frozen would be unsustainable.

“Even with an increase of £5 a year on a band D property, our borough will still have one of the lowest council tax rates in the country. Critically we will still be able to maintain and improve our services.”

If agreed, Executive Committee will recommend Full Council approves the budget plans at its meeting on Thursday February 18.