North West councils to freeze council tax
North West council tax bill for 2011/12 will see virtually no
change, according to the country’s most authoritative survey,
released by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and
The average North West Band D bill for 2011/12 will be £1,468.73, up
15 pence, from the 2010/11 figure of £1,468.58. This freeze in
council tax levels comes on the back of a Government incentive fund
of £650 million to encourage councils to maintain last year’s
council tax levels. The national average Band D English
council tax bill will be £1,438.87, a marginal reduction of 35 pence
on last year.
Across the UK, average Government allocations to councils have
fallen by 9.9% compared to last year. When considered alongside the
council tax freeze, this has led to an average reduction in budgets,
year to year, of 5.5%. Councils are responding with a continuing
programme of economies as well as cuts in both services and jobs.
CIPFA's analysis of emerging budgets shows that a significant
proportion of budget reductions are being directed towards
'back-office' activities. Two thirds of councils plan cuts of
between 5% and 20% to finance, human resources and information
technology departments’ budgets. Front-line services, however,
also face significant reductions. Cuts of more than 10% are reported
for a range of services, including libraries, leisure and economic
Councils' Chief Finance Officers (CFOs) have expressed significant
concerns about the high levels of risk associated with the
implementation and delivery of these tough budgets.
Encouragingly, nearly 60% of CFOs report that plans for further
challenging budgets in 2012/13 are fully or largely developed.
Despite considerable short term dilemmas, it is clear that councils
are working hard to lay plans for the medium term.
Steve Freer, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Public
Finance and Accountancy said:- "North West councils have
responded positively to Government calls to freeze council tax. The
Government and councils have a shared interest in avoiding a public
relations disaster of local people paying more for reduced services.
Public attention is likely to continue to focus on the service and
job cuts which councils determine in order to balance their
Bicycle Film Festival
THE Bicycle Film Festival comes
makes its Liverpool debut 8 April to 10 April 2011, at the city’s
media arts centre FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology)
along with other events at venues in other parts of the RopeWalks.
The BFF’s immense popularity and continued growth has evolved
hand-in-hand with the unprecedented boom in urban cycling
internationally. From its roots in New York City, the BFF has grown
into a multi-faceted, global event that travels from Milan to Tokyo,
Minneapolis to Sydney. Now in its tenth year the festival is held in
30 cities worldwide. 300,000 people are expected to attend in 2011.
Film highlights for the Liverpool BFF this year include Birth of Big
Air, the much anticipated documentary on legendary BMX’er Mat
Hoffman, produced by Spike Jonze; and Where Are You Go, by veteran
BFF filmmaker Benny Zenga, following an epic bicycle journey from
Cairo to Capetown.
The Liverpool Festival will also play host to:-
► A night of Roller Racing presented by the Great Northern Rollers
at The Kazimier (4-5 Wolstenholme Square Liverpool L1 4JJ)
► A special Sunday pub live viewing of the classic Paris-Roubaix
► BMX demos and tricks demos
► Bicycle scavenger hunt
► Valet bicycle parking provided by
Mike Stubbs, CEO/Director of FACT said:- "FACT is very excited
to be hosting the newest edition of the international Bicycle Film
Festival, linking Liverpool up with other BFF city hosts around the
world, including Amsterdam, New York and Paris. Bicycle Film
Festival will be an opportunity to draw together the broad range of
cyclists in the city - from a growing community of youth cyclists,
to cyclist commuters and families who ride together - and promote
cycling in the Ropewalks area and beyond."
The Bicycle Film Festival is an arts and cultural event that
celebrates the bicycle. The festival brings together many creative
communities, including fashion, music and art, as well as various
bicycling communities – road cycling, mountain biking, BMX, bike
polo – over a shared passion for bike riding. Further
information and full programme listings you can go to:-