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Ashford proposes to freeze council tax – 20th January

Civic Centre front

Plans for Ashford Borough Council to freeze council tax for the next two financial years have been announced.

We already have the lowest council tax in Kent. However, speaking at last week’s cabinet meeting, it was announced by Leader Cllr Gerry Clarkson that cabinet members would be making a recommendation to full council in February that council tax would be frozen for the next two years.

If approved, it will mean that we will have only increased our portion of council tax once in five financial years and that was because we were given special dispensation to do so by a central government as we were among the 50 authorities with the lowest council tax in the country.

We recognise that our residents have faced hard economic times and we want to set an example as an administration that we will continue to make efficiency savings while improving our services. This is our commitment to the people we serve.

Cllr Clarkson said: “We have a proven track record of delivering cost-effective value services. Ashford has achieved a tremendous amount despite a tough economic backdrop and challenging grant settlements from central government. However, we have been financially prudent and innovative, thus enabling us to keep Ashford’s council tax one of the lowest in the country.

This has seen us introduce our successful recycling service across the borough, continue to do all we can to enable the borough’s biggest regeneration plans to move forward, invest in our town centre, and continue to lead the way with building much-needed housing.

Indeed, freezing council tax has become a viable option because of the announcement about new homes bonus in the chancellor’s autumn statement. It has also been made possible because of government making councils that freeze council tax eligible to receive a grant equivalent to a one per cent rise.”