So the Tories have engineered a council tax "cut" of 1% - about a pound a month on a Band D property.
Don't let it change your life!
They know this is a one-off - it cannot be replicated in the next couple of years at least. But of more interest is how this tax cut is actually being financed. Councils qualify for a grant to the value of a 2.5% increase in council tax - if they agree to freeze council tax. So effectively the freeze on council tax is being financed through the money of the same taxpayers who are supposed to "benefit" from it. The money is coming from rises in VAT and cuts in tax credits and benefits.
A version of the Great Money Trick that the late Robert Tressell could never have dreamed of!
The actual 1% cut is being financed partly through massive cuts in childrens's services and adult social care - £5.5 and £6.1 million respectively - and they are also finding money to cut the cost of parking permits by 5% (big deal). They are also proposing to spend £1.1 million on removing - yes removing - two cycle lanes.
The £12.62 a year is little use to individuals, but it adds up to a million pounds - think what that could do.
This budget was certainly a major disappointment given the tiresome game of now-you-see-it-now-you-don't both the unions and opposition councillors had to endure from the Administration as meeting after meeting had to be cancelled last week while the Tories dithered over whether it was ready or not.
Hopefully, given the balance of forces on the Council, some of this nonsense can be stopped at the Council meeting on 3rd March