Council tax rise and infrastructure investment in Cambridgeshire budget

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Council tax in Cambridgeshire is set to rise by 2.95% under budget proposals set out by the county council.

The Conservative-led authority said an increase was essential "to protect vital front line services" and was supported by 53% of residents surveyed.

The council rejected a government offer of a one-off payment to freeze the tax for a year, saying that would force it to raise the tax more in future years.

The £849m budget goes before the full council in March.

It includes proposals to save £43m, to be achieved partly through the planned loss of up to 154 full-time equivalent posts which was announced to council employees in November.

'Severe blow'

Subsidised transport is set to be reduced over the next three years, but £1.5m will be invested in other local transport schemes.

In addition, £90m will be invested in a five-year road network improvement scheme, £33m of which will be spent in the coming year.

The budget for adult social care is set to increase by £6.4m on last year.

Council leader Nick Clarke said the proposals were aimed at protecting vulnerable people and boosting the economy.

"I need to look people in the eye and say when their elderly folk need support, it will be there for them."

Labour councillor, Tariq Sadiq, said the council had "little choice" but to propose an increase in council tax to avoid cutting services.

The 2.95% rise would mean a Council Tax band D householder paying £30.87 more per year.

"It is a severe blow to families trying to survive," Mr Sadiq said.

Kilian Bourke, leader of the Liberal Democrats on the council, said: "The proposals appear to protect services more than the previous year's budget.

"We opposed many of those cuts so I suppose it is a relief that the Tories have rowed back from some of the most excessive of those."

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