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Broadland council to help businesses

PUBLISHED: 10:03 18 February 2009 | UPDATED: 13:03 03 July 2010

BROADLAND councillors are planning to raid reserves to set up a £2m fund to help local firms battle the recession - while setting a council tax rise totalling 4p a week.

BROADLAND councillors are planning to raid reserves to set up a £2m fund to help local firms battle the recession - while setting a council tax rise totalling 4p a week.

The Tory authority yesterday unveiled a 1.93pc hike in its share of council tax bills, or a rise of £2.07 a year.

And it is using reserves to develop a range of measures over the next two years which will either help firms re-train staff, or save money by cutting their carbon footprint.

But the budget plans, which will be agreed at full council tomorrow night have upset staff, who have accused the authority of reneging on a performance-related pay deal.

Under a previous deal struck when the council was worried it would lose staff to the unitary process, councillors agreed to offer workers a mix of a performance-related pay and loyalty bonuses, which could have seen could have seen staff walk away with a pay deal closer to 5pc this year.

But with the recession looming, the cabinet has pulled the plug on the deal and instead offered a revised package totalling 2.5pc or £250,000 less than the earlier deal.

Becky Tye, from Unison, warned the cabinet that the decision could hit staff morale.

“Everyone recognises that the council has obligations to the people we serve, that's what we are here for, but promises have been made to staff and if we go back to them, they aren't really going to do what you want them to do,” she said.

Stuart Clancy, portfolio holder for economic development, and a member of the pay panel, said the budget had adopted a three-pronged approach.

“We are delivering a level of support for businesses which supports jobs and re-skilling and we are delivering a low council tax for people,” he said.

“Many people won't receive any wage rises this year and may have to downsize (and while) it may not be a reward they consider reasonable, in the current economic climate it's a fair reward for what's happened.”

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