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Council Tax freeze proposed again

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Council Tax freeze proposed again

Wychavon's share of the Council Tax bill could be frozen for the sixth year running if proposals put forward by councillors are accepted.

If approved the freeze would mean by March next year, £2.7 million will have been kept in the pockets of Wychavon residents.

Keeping Council Tax on hold is one of a number of proposals put forward at a meeting on Wednesday (1 February) by Wychavon's Executive Board to support residents and improve the district.

Another £1million was announced for community projects through Wychavon's Community Legacy Grants scheme, which will open to applications in early 2024.

A pledge was made to continue to work with partners to provide practical advice and support to residents with the cost of living crisis, backed by £50,000 of new funding.

Councillors also proposed £75,000 to recruit a financial inclusion officer as part of Wychavon's Housing Service to offer direct support to people in financial difficulty.

Parish and town councils will also get £30,000 to support street parties and events to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III.

There were also new environmental commitments made. Wychavon, working with its contractor FCC Environment, will spent £210,000 over the next two years to begin phasing in the use of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) to FCC's bin collection and street sweeping fleet. HVO can cut carbon emissions by 90% compared to diesel. The move follows a successful trial of the fuel in 2022.

Funding of £70,000 will also be made available to pay for swimming pool covers at Evesham and Pershore Leisure Centres. Pool covers can cut energy consumption by about 50% helping to cut fuel bills for the centres as well as slash carbon emissions.

All of the proposals will now go to a meeting of Wychavon's full Council on February 22 for final approval.

Cllr Bradley Thomas, Leader of Wychavon District Council, said: "Wychavon already has the fourth lowest Council Tax charge of any district council in the country. By keeping our part of the bill on hold for a sixth year running we're keeping money in residents' pockets so they can spend it on their priorities, like household bills and essentials.

"Even though we're freezing our part of the bill, as our other spending announcements show, we're still committed to improving Wychavon by investing in our communities, supporting people when they need us most and protecting our environment."