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Exeter announces council tax increases

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: January 15, 2014

By Mike Byrne

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People in Exeter look set to pay £2.55 a week for all City Council services, the local authority announced today.

Exeter City Council – which currently sets the fourth lowest district council tax in the country - is proposing a 1.99% rise for 2014/15 (subject to the government's decision on the maximum amount councils can put up their tax).

An average band D property in Exeter would see a rise of just £2.59 a year (5 pence per week) for City Council services included in the overall bill.

Council Leader Pete Edwards said the 1.99% rise was as a result of the government cutting Exeter's funding by 13.6%.

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"We are working harder than ever in the face of ever decreasing government funding to deliver key frontline services for the people of Exeter," stressed Cllr Edwards.

"We came into these challenging times in a strong financial position and over the last few years have had to be smart to become more fit for purpose in this ever changing world.

"We've reduced staff by 20%, established better, more efficient ways of operating and serving the public and we've made and will continue to make savings across the Council, like the installation of more energy efficient lights throughout civic centre buildings and solar panels on car parks."

Despite this, the City Council has still managed to deliver key capital investments in the city.

"We're working with partners to deliver a multi-million pound flood defence scheme that will protect vulnerable areas of Exeter and will provide over £200 million worth of direct economic benefit to the city," said Cllr Edwards.

"And we continue to support growth in Exeter, building much-needed homes and ensuring the economy remains strong, providing jobs and a bright future."

But he warned that there were hard times ahead for the City Council.

"The next few years will be challenging and we can't shy away from the fact that there will be difficult decisions around the corner. When the current efficiency saving measures are in place we will be as small and as lean as a council can be and after that it is unlikely that we will be able to make any further savings without affecting frontline services. We must be realistic about this."

Cllr Edwards said that the Council was starting to look at how it could engage and involve people in the communities when it came to Exeter's future.

"We will continue to deliver essential services as we have always done but we will need to do things differently and involve the community in making some difficult decisions in the future," he said.

"We need to work with local groups and better understand what matters most to them."

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