HAMBLETON District Council has agreed to freeze its council tax for the third year running.

At a meeting of the full council in Northallerton this afternoon (Tuesday, February 19), councillors ratified a freeze in council tax. At one point the council was looking at whether to impose a six per cent increase to cover a budget shortfall as it has received 12 per cent less in Government funding.

Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis had announced that Hambleton would be the only district council in the region permitted to impose such a rise, along with other low-cost authorities. The council has the third lowest council tax demand in the country.

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But the council decided instead to peg its council tax demand to help struggling families, making it eligible for a Government grant to help councils which keep tax rises below two per cent.

At today's district council meeting, Councillor Ron Kirk told councillors: “We’re the third lowest precepting council in the country.

“It’s great to be the lowest, but it does present some long term issues. If you do add two per cent on a pretty low band we don’t raise much money.”

Councillors have also agreed to pass a £92,000 grant to parishes most affected by changes to the Welfare Reform Bill which will see people on benefits having to pay council tax for the first time.

The one year grant will reduce the precept levied by those parishes – and therefore the amount charged to householders.