BRENT Council has agreed its budget for the next financial year, which has resulted in a council tax freeze.
Band D council tax from April 1 will be £1,058.94, which is the same as the previous 12 months.
Only £102million of the total £981million spent a year is raised through council tax. The majority comes from government grants and charges that are paid directly by people using services such as sports facilities, parking, home help and meals on wheels.
Next year, the children and families budget will be reduced by £1million, environment and culture by £500,000 and adult social care by £1million.
In total, the council will be making £9.4million in savings.
However, the council says extra resources will be ploughed into services for child protection and the environment, including organic waste collection.
The budget, set by the Liberal Democrat and Tory coalition administration, includes £1.5million added to offset the impact of changes to the funding of the Freedom Pass scheme so all previously eligible residents can still qualify. Schools will get an extra 4.7 per cent per pupil.
But not everyone is convinced by the budget, including Councillor Ann John OBE, leader of the opposition Labour group, who said: "Brent is not the only council to freeze its council tax - every Labour-controlled borough in London has done it.
"Those Labour councils have managed to keep their council tax down without bashing the elderly as the Lib-Dems and Tories have done in Brent with 300 per cent increases in care charges.
"They have done it without slashing services for young people and they have done it without introducing new stealth taxes as the Lib-Dems and Tories have done in Brent.
"Those Labour councils have not spent their time blaming the government for everything which goes wrong."
Councillor John said if Labour was elected in May it would abolish the £25 charge for bulky refuse, introduce free parking for the first hour in certain car parks to encourage shopping and use money spent on consultants to fund front-line services.
During the next four years, the council plans to reduce costs by more than £50million, which includes getting rid of 250 job posts by September.
Councillor John added: "The council is budgeting a saving of just £2.2million for the loss of the jobs - that is less than £10,000 per person.
"I doubt if the queue for voluntary redundancy will be that long, although given the current state of staff morale and the chaos this council is in, maybe some will volunteer."
Labour presented an alternative budget which also included a council tax freeze.
However, it voted against the LibDem/Tory overall budget package which Councillor Daniel Brown, Liberal Democrat deputy group leader, criticised.
He said: "The Labour group is deeply out of touch with local people.
"It is appaling that at a time when residents across Brent are feeling the pinch, Labour were proposing that a £2million tax bombshell be saddled around everybody's necks.
"Brent Labour's £2million tax bombshell would hit those most vulnerable in the borough the hardest.
"I am delighted that, thanks to the Liberal Democrats, we have delivered a council tax freeze for the people of Brent."
But Councillor John explained: "We voted for our own motion which also was for a freeze but with the difference that we proposed to find extra cash for repairing potholes and broken pavements and some other growth by slashing the consultancy budget.
"We said we would slash the consultancy budget by £1.5million and slash the cost of temps and agency staff, currently running at £16million a year.
"The Lib-Dems and Tories seem to prefer to pay consultants and employment agencies rather than keep the streets repaired."