Council tax warning issued

COUNCIL leader David Parker has welcomed the approval of budget proposals, but has warned that council tax will not be ‘fit-for-purpose’ soon.

Mr Parker said that the seventh year of a council tax freeze was “very welcome”, adding that he expected it would continue for a further three years.

However, he added: “It will not be fit-for-purpose by this point”, and said the way local authorities are funded in the future needs to be examined.

Councillor Stuart Bell said that if council tax had risen with inflation, Band D in the Borders would be £239 higher than it is now.

Commenting after the budgets had been passed, Mr Parker, said: “I’m confident the long- term plans we are putting in place will stand this council in good stead.”

Depute leader John Mitchell said: “This has not been an easy budget – it never is to balance the books – and we have tried to spread efficiencies and savings across the council.”

Opposition amendments to scrap a 10p rise in school meals and review the waste management strategy were defeated.

Mr Parker said the last pay freeze agreement with staff had saved the council £5million.

He added that a ‘great deal of gratitude’ was owed to staff, who recently agreed to changes to terms and conditions which will restrict pay for the next three years.