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Ipswich: Conservative group urges borough raid on reserves

PUBLISHED: 09:00 24 February 2014

Conservative group leader Chris Stewart.

Conservative group leader Chris Stewart.

Archant

Just days after Conservatives at Suffolk County Council voted to reject Labour proposals to take more money from the authority’s reserves their colleagues at the borough have proposed freezing council tax bills . . . largely by taking cash from reserves!

The Labour-run borough is planning to raise its element of council tax bills by 1.99% – the maximum that it can without being forced to hold a local referendum.

Now the opposition Tory group has proposed that council tax bills should be frozen, £500,000 should be given to the county council to repair potholes in the town and £500,000 should be spent on attracting new businesses to the town centre.

The money for this would come from reducing the borough’s reserves and getting £90,574 more money from hire fees and ticket sales at the Regent theatre.

Group leader Chris Stewart said: “While the economy is recovering quickly, it is very unwelcome news that Labour wants people in Ipswich to pay yet more money, in tax and council house rent rises.

“Voters are also concerned that the cost of the council house building scheme is being paid by some of the poorest families in Ipswich, a cynical move by a hypocritical administration.”

Borough leader David Ellesmere said: “We have looked at this amendment and I don’t think it is a serious one. It would open up a black hole in our finances.”

He said the borough was already reducing its reserves over the next four years to maintain the council’s work, and to take an extra million out this year would put many services at greater threat in the future.

He added: “We are having to increase council tax to save our services – we can’t take this seriously.”

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