Uttlesford District Council plans to cut its council tax by two per cent from April.

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The proposal forms part of the council’s budget for 2014/15 which will be discussed by the Scrutiny Committee on February 6, before going on to cabinet on February 18 and then full council for final approval on February 27.

The proposed cut follows a one per cent cut last year and two years of freezes before that. It means Uttlesford has not put council tax up for since 2010, a real term cut of 15 per cent when inflation is factored in.

A council spokesman said the ability to reduce the district portion of council tax is “a direct result of sound financial management, cost efficiencies and an increase of spending power”.

Cllr Robert Chambers, cabinet member for finance said: “This is good news for the residents of Uttlesford and we are pleased that we can pass on the benefit of our financial position. We have worked hard to manage our finances and drive cost savings across the authority whilst maintaining and delivering good value services for our residents.”

Other key features of the 2014/15 budget include:

• An extra £25,000 pot for discretionary business rates to help local businesses

• £20,000 to help the district celebrate the Tour de France

• £1 million allocated for new strategic initiatives, investments in projects and services to benefit local businesses and communities

• £200,000 earmarked for investment in infrastructure projects

• Funding for a feasibility study into expanding car parking provision across the district to help our town centres

• More money allocated to fund Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and Special Constables training

• An increase in funding for voluntary sector organisations and community projects grants

• Investment in a CCTV scheme in Thaxted

• Restoration works at Saffron Walden Castle

• Increased support for council tax payers in genuine hardship

Cllr Jim Ketteridge, leader of the council, said: “With our increase in spending power, we can not only deliver a two per cent cut in our share of council tax but also plan substantial investment in projects to benefit local businesses and communities.”

Uttlesford District Council receives about 10p in every pound of council tax collected.

The remainder goes to Essex County Council (72p), Essex Police Commissioner (9p), Essex Fire Authority (4p) and town/parish councils (average of 5p). This means that if other authorities raise their council tax precept, residents could still see their total bill rise.

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