Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 15°C

Search

Ipswich: Tax bills set to rise in borough

PUBLISHED: 10:08 12 February 2013 | UPDATED: 10:18 12 February 2013

Ben Gummer and David Ellesmere have clashed over council tax proposals.

Ben Gummer and David Ellesmere have clashed over council tax proposals.

Archant

The borough’s element of council tax bills are set to rise in April for the first time in two years – putting the authority on a collision-course with the government.

The borough is set to increase its council tax bills by 1.98% – a fraction under the 2% threshold that would trigger a local referendum under new legislation.

The increase amounts to just 9p a week, or even less, for most homes in the borough – and council leader David Ellesmere said a consultation exercise suggested most residents would be prepared to pay the extra.

The increase means the borough will lose a £100,000 bonus from the Department for Local Government which was on offer for councils freezing their tax demand. However the rise will bring in an extra £200,000.

Mr Ellesmere said: “We have found £5million in savings over the last few years, but we feel we cannot freeze council tax bills again without endangering services too much.”

He said that with inflation running between 2.5% and 3% and the government reducing grants to local authorities, the council had already suffered a substantial cut in income in real terms.

The borough was keen to protect front-line services, but Mr Ellesmere could not rule out cuts in the longer term.

This year he was determined to try to boost economic support for the town with initiatives including retaining the reduced fees in borough car parks and attracting more special events.

A survey of voters in the town showed that 65% said they would approve of a small council tax increase to retain services.

However the move has not gone down well with the town’s Conservative MP.

Ben Gummer said: “This is a predictable but disappointing decision. It might look like a small increase, but it is the principle that matters.

“Other councils, including some Labour councils, have cut their council tax bills yet Ipswich is putting it up – the borough should be working to cut its spending.”

The borough’s element of council tax is higher than that in neighbouring districts. That is partially explained by the lack of parish or town council elements in Ipswich – voters in towns like Leiston or Sudbury can pay nearly £100 a year towards their local bodies.

Also Ipswich has a much higher proportion of its homes in the lowest two council tax bands – 69% of homes in the town are in bands A or B. In Mid Suffolk the proportion is 40%, in Babergh it is 41% and in Suffolk Coastal it is 38%.

That means more of the council’s income has to come from lower-band households, forcing the council to have higher bands.

Is the borough right to increase its council tax? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Thousands of families and eager festival-goers braved the changeable weather this weekend to enjoy top bands, food and art at Jimmy’s Festival.

Trains running to and from London Liverpool Street are being delayed, cancelled and revised as a result of a signalling issue this evening.

Suffolk New College is launching its summer programme of sports sessions for youngsters this week.

This is the story of the Neptune Inn in Fore Street, but before we learn of its history there are two diversionary tales, writes John Norman.

Top international speakers and academics gathered at the University of Suffolk last week for the Children and Childhoods Conference.

A primary school in Ipswich has failed to improve its Ofsted rating despite converting to an academy, it has been revealed.

Dementia-friendly care homes, forward-thinking mental health services and a café for people with disabilities are among those through to the final of the 2017 Suffolk Care Awards.

Imagine a music festival featuring Queen, Oasis, and The Jam in the heart of Ipswich’s Christchurch Park.

Pupils at Farlingaye High School in Woodbridge saw in the holidays with a ‘festival-like’ acoustic evening.

Screen Suffolk bosses have said they are encouraged by the amount of interest shown in youngsters for a career in TV and film.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24