Times are tough is local government finance. Thanks to our previous Labour government the country is strapped for cash, and so the coalition is having to cut support to Councils. For Basildon this means reducing our costs, and very sadly having to reduce our staff numbers by up to 100. This last is very regrettable. We have excellent officers and redundancy is a horrible thing to inflict on anyone. In general though, the prudent financial management of Basildon Council down the years means that we are able to get through this without hitting front-line services.
We also don't want to take the easy option of hitting the Council-taxpayer either. The government is helping out with that, with a deal that if we keep the notional increase to 2.5%, they will fund it down to zero. So, for 2011, we won't be raising the Council Tax in Basildon. This is great news for local people, many of whom are still hit hard from the recession and the squeeze from Labour's disastrous handling of the economy. As is heard fairly often in TV adverts - every little helps.