Kent's council tax freeze set to end

A three-year freeze on Kent's council tax looks set to come to an end today with county councillors due to vote on a hike in bills of just under 2%. County councillors are due to vote on the increase at the annual budget meeting as well as deciding on an £82million package of cost-cutting measures set out by the ruling Conservative administration. The increase in Kent County Council's share of the council tax will mean average household bills for those in Band D homes rising from £1,047 to £1,068. For homes in Band C - of which there are more than any other in Kent - the KCC part of the bill will go up to £949. KCC says the hike will raise an additional £10m and help cushion the impact of a continuing squeeze on its finances caused by a cut in government grants. Among the budget plans are controversial changes to the freedom bus pass. Although the Conservative administration has now dropped its plans to place a cap of £350, it is proposing to double the fee to £200 and limit journeys to Monday to Friday between 6am and 7pm. Opposition parties are expected to table alternative plans and will push the council to bring down the costs of the post-16 bus pass, which is set to be £450.

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