TORY council leaders have frozen council tax for the third year running in the face of Labour fears the move will trigger job losses and service cuts.
South Derbyshire District Council voted to keep its element of the charge at April 2011 levels – meaning householders with Band D properties will continue paying a below-average £150.25 a year.
With Derbyshire County Council and Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service also freezing their precepts, and Derbyshire Police putting forward an increase of 1.96 per cent, it means the standard Band D bill for 2013-14 will be £1,461.
Tory district council leader Bob Wheeler said: “We know many of our residents are facing financial pressures.
“As a result, the council is keen to ensure council tax remains as low as possible while maintaining and improving its high-quality services.
“Delivering everything we do for less than £3 a week represents remarkable value and shows our commitment to the people of South Derbyshire.
“Our prudent approach to financial management and our mantra of doing more with less continue to serve us well.
“The latest annual external audit report stated the council continues to provide excellent value for money and is financially resilient.
“This is a good foundation on which to build on and face future challenges.
“This is a realistic budget made in the interests of the residents and communities we serve across South Derbyshire.”
But though the Tory’s leaders ranks voted for the freeze at an extraordinary full council meeting on Monday, their Labour opponents abstained.
One of the party’s senior members, Trevor Southerd, who represents the Church Gresley ward, said: “It’s a courageous move having given the undertaking that no services will be reduced and no compulsory job losses will ensue.
“As the leader said, if they fail in this attempt they stand to be judged at the next election.”
On the eve of the vote, Councillor Southerd accused his Tory opponents of ‘planning to freeze council tax knowing full well it is going to cost jobs’.
He launched his attack amid reports that plans were being drawn up to restructure the authority’s management.
The Mail was given the name of one manager scheduled to leave the council in the spring as part of efforts to save £300,000 a year to avert a debt crisis.