Birmingham council tax payers face an inflation-busting 1.9 per cent increase for the fourth year running.
The city council’s ruling Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition has again stuck to its pledge to keep increases low.
But city leader Mike Whitby insisted that, despite the low increase, spending on frontline services, such as social care and waste collection, would rise by £21.8 million.
Spending priorities for the 2009/10 financial year would see more cash invested in improving council houses and schools and a focus on big projects such as building the new Library and New Street Station.
Coun Whitby (Con, Harborne) said the rise would be one of the lowest proposed by any council in the UK and means that Birmingham has the lowest average rises of any major city in the UK.
He said: “In the current tough economic times, I am proud to present a budget to the people of Birmingham that yet again underlines our commitment to easing the tax burden on all households.
“It proves we are doing all that we can to help those with low-paid or fixed incomes, and the pensioners of the city.
“Despite the pressures of an almost unprecedented national economic situation, we are keeping our promise to deliver long-term value for money and helping the citizens of Birmingham to manage their own expenditure in these challenging times.”
He said that the council tax rise is a full 1.2 per cent below the Consumer Price Index inflation rate - meaning a real terms cut for citizens.
But added that the city would still deliver on frontline services and major regeneration schemes, while the business transformation council wide efficiency drive was beginning to make savings. Among areas to benefit from the extra £21.8 million investment in services are adult care services, waste recycling and the development of the Library of Birmingham.
Other key elements include:
• £344 million of investment in upgrading council housing stock.
• £153 million investment over three years in the New Street Station Gateway development and
• a further £154m invested in schools and other youth facilities.
The budget will be presented to the full council for approval later this month. The total Council Tax bill includes not only council charges, but those from the regional police, fire and transport authorities.