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Parking charges and council tax frozen in Richmond
Parking charges and council tax will be frozen after Richmond Council announced its budget for the next financial year.
The Liberal Democrat opposition wanted to amend the budget to divert a £4m to frontline services such as school improvement, adult social care and the voluntary sector.
Deputy leader and cabinet member for finance Councillor Geoffrey Samuel said: “I am pleased to announce that for the third year running we will not be raising the council tax. This is good news for all our residents.
“At a time when so many families are being squeezed financially, any increase would be unthinkable.”
He said it was likely the council tax would rise between 0 and 1 per cent the following year - a maximum of 25p per week for a band D property.
In his budget speech in the council chamber on February 26, Coun Samuel announced a £3m investment for pavement and highway repairs and a further £85m for schools.
But Lib Dems said structural changes in schools, such as converting them to academies and introducing sixth forms, were having an adverse effect of performance.
Leader of the Lib Dems, Councillor Stephen Knight said: “Instead of cutting the school improvement team in half as the Tories have done, resulting in falling value added results in seven out eight local secondary schools, we would invest in supporting local schools to raise standards.
“We would build more affordable homes and create a new grant scheme for local families facing extreme hardship.”
The Lib Dems said they would introduce a borough-wide 20mph limit in all residential roads but Coun Samuel said at the 20mph zones of his Hampton North ward, there were twice as many complaints about traffic.
He said: “20mph limits are not always a panacea. Our aim will remain to deliver the lowest possible increase in council tax whilst maintaining or improving the services that residents tell us they value the most.”