Councils look to capitalise on Government Spending Review incentive

COUNCIL tax levels in North Devon and Torridge are likely to be frozen next year, the North Devon Gazette has learned.

Both district councils for the two areas have indicated that they will look to take advantage of a Government incentive being offered to local authorities that set zero per cent rises for the year 2011-12.

A spokesperson for Devon County Council also hinted the authority would be looking to capitalise on the Government’s pledge to give councils extra funding equivalent to a 2.5 per cent rise, part of plans announced under the recent Spending Review. In North Devon, this would equate to around £120,000, while in Torridge, the figure would be £85,000. The county council would be looking at an £8.25 million Government payout in return for not raising taxes.

It is unclear whether parish councils and the fire and police authorities will follow suit, although their share of the overall charge is proportionally smaller.

“The Government cannot force us to freeze our council tax but it’s a no-brainer really,” said North Devon Council leader Des Brailey.

“It is our intention to keep the council tax rise at zero but this will obviously be subject to council approval in the New Year.”