Page last updated at 14:02 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009

Councils freeze tax levels again

Council tax bill - generic
Most local authorities are expected to freeze council tax levels

Local authorities across the west of Scotland have been setting their budgets for the coming financial year.

Several have announced that they will freeze council tax for the second year running.

The average Band D property council tax rate for residents in Glasgow, and across Ayrshire and Renfrewshire will remain unchanged.

However, bills will increase due to a 3% rise in the water and sewerage charge levied by Scottish Water.

Glasgow City council was among the first to announce a council tax freeze last week.

South Ayrshire Council has set its budget for the next 12 months at 266.4m.

The average Band D bill council tax bill will remain at 1,153, plus water charges.

Council leader Councillor Hugh Hunter said: "We have had to take difficult decisions but the result is that more money than last year will be spent on our core services, the aim of which is to bring benefits to all residents of South Ayrshire."

The council said it would continue to examine the options for the closure-threatened Gaiety Theatre in Ayr.

By careful management and efficiencies, we have been able to preserve services and to make modest increases to some
Cllr Jim Fletcher
East Renfrewshire Council
East Renfrewshire Council said efficiencies and savings would be made in support services in order to preserve frontline services for residents.

Council leader Cllr Jim Fletcher said no council buildings would close and there would be no compulsory redundancies.

He added: "By careful management and efficiencies, we have been able to preserve services and to make modest increases to some.

"That is no mean feat in today's economic climate and is thanks to prudent financial management. "

In East Ayrshire the average Band D bill is set to remain at 1,188, plus water charges.

Council leader, Councillor Douglas Reid said: "This year's budget will balance our aspirations with the need to reduce costs; protect services for those in our communities who are most in need and promote investment in difficult economic times."

'Difficult climate'

He listed educational attainment, town centre regeneration and starting to build council houses as the three main priorities for East Ayrshire Council for 2009/10.

Renfrewshire Council said the highlights of its budget were the council tax freeze, the introduction of free school meals, major investment in flood prevention and extra support for fostering.

Council Leader Derek Mackay said: "Despite the difficult economic climate, this budget and this Council are ambitious for Renfrewshire. Our overall spending in Renfrewshire will increase by 10.7m compared to last year."

North Ayrshire Council leader Councillor David O'Neill said that the budget delivered the council's main priorities and honoured its commitments to the Scottish Government.

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SEE ALSO
Local authorities set council tax
12 Feb 09 |  Scotland
Glasgow set to freeze council tax
06 Feb 09 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Glasgow council tax rate frozen
12 Feb 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West

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