The borough is to go ahead with increasing council tax bills by fractionally under 2%.

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The move was approved by a full meeting of the authority at the town’s Corn Exchange after Labour council leader David Ellesmere warned that without the increase there could be serious problems in the future.

Mr Ellesmere said the council had already been hit by spending constraints: “We are facing cuts of 19% over the next three years – and that comes after cuts of 20% over the last three.”

He was concerned that a gap could open in the next three years, and said without making the increase now there would be serious problems ahead.

A government offer of a special grant to councils that froze their council tax only ran for the next two years – and if the authority did not take action now there could be a major funding gap in years ahead.

The borough is increasing its element of council tax by 1.98%, fractionally under the 2% threshold that would trigger a referendum.

The county council and police commissioner are freezing their council tax demands, so the overall rise will be much less than 1% – it amounts to £4.76 a year or 9p a week for a Band B property.

Mr Ellesmere said that despite the cuts, the council had managed to invest in services and improve the town.

He said that the council was hoping to maintain services – but this would involve using some of the reserves that had been built up.

Mr Ellesmere’s claim about investing in the town made former Conservative council leader Liz Harsant see red.

She said: “They have taken credit for Little Waitrose in the Corn Exchange, which they opposed, and the John Lewis development that was negotiated by our administration.

“The Regent theatre was refurbished and turned into a top venue when we were running the town – it was in a dreadful state when we took over. And we managed to develop Giles Circus which Labour opposed.

“We managed to develop the town while freezing council taxes – and managed to reduce them in our last year. I shall not be voting for this budget.”

Liberal Democrat leader Andrew Cann was concerned about the effect of raiding the reserves over the next three years.

He said: “We know things are bad, and we know they are trying to preserve services.

“Things will be okay next year and the year after. But what will happen in 2016 when there are no more reserves to raid? ”

Despite this concern the budget was backed by the huge Labour majority on the borough council and bills will be sent out next month.

Is it right to put up council tax bills? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk

12 comments

  • Seriously?! People are moaning about a 9p a week increase!!? The coalition government is making 40% cuts in council grants over 5 years which will come from local services. In the meantime the richest in the country got a tax cut; British Gas is putting up bills by 11% while paying hundreds of millions of its profits over to shareholders; and our Govt today are the only one's in Europe saying that the City fat cats shouldn't have their bonuses capped. It's time we got some perspective!

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    skrich

    Thursday, February 28, 2013

  • Good Idea, let's dig up St.Margarets again for the umteenth time and re-turf Brunswick Rd and Kingsgate Drive so the cars can rut it straight up again. If there was a medal for waisting money the Council would win a Gold.

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    m01

    Thursday, February 28, 2013

  • Top 10 senior managers £750,000 salaries plus bonuses of course they want to increase taxes

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    this is what we pay tax for

    Friday, March 1, 2013

  • No matter how much you raise the council tax you will never repair broken "cesspit" Ipswich.

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    the opinion man

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013

  • I would say the so called Giles Circus was a total waste of money, so I wouldn't be taking any credit for that! Lets hope that next months bills are actually correct and sent to the right people, unlike the recent summons sent to people who were actually up to date with their payments eh Ipswich Borough Council?!!

    Report this comment

    england1770

    Thursday, February 28, 2013

  • Ipswich is turning into a Joke. Its by far the worst place to drive in. They spent all the money on road improvements and its a joke. Trying to get from the Town to East side of Ipswich is stupid. How many sets of traffic Lights? Pedestrian crossings by the Uni. And as for that Bus Lane in Star Lane its Stupid then you turn into Grimwade st and there is a bus stop. Now they want to put Council Tax up to waste even more of our money. Idiots

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    Ipswich Sucks

    Thursday, February 28, 2013

  • Fair enough a small rise under 2%. Just remember all of you who earn under £34000 will pay less tax in April and be well over £200 a year better off so you won't be any worse off anyway. Anyone who earns above £34000 and moans is just plain greedy in my eyes.

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    mr_tall

    Friday, March 1, 2013

  • 50 senior managers at IBC need their huge salaries and pension pots topped up ,apart from traffic being redirected from one way to another, causing major traffic congestion in ipswich no other money is being spent in ipswich.

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    this is what we pay tax for

    Thursday, February 28, 2013

  • What an absolute disgrace... this is what happens if you vote Labour people! wake up Ipswich and throw these incompetent socialist spend thrifts out!

    Report this comment

    Fat Lady Sings

    Thursday, February 28, 2013

  • 'Ipswich sucks' - you could be right that if everyone stopped paying council tax then their voices might be heard: it would shout much louder if people also refused to pay inflated energy bills, crazy petrol prices, hiked water bills, horrendous public transport fares and outrageous bank charges. Something else that the rest of Europe does better than us - public protesting.

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    skrich

    Friday, March 1, 2013

  • its not the fact that it is a 9p a week increase, its the fact how much money the IBC waste on things that work correctly. If its not broken don't fix it simple's. If the whole of Ipswich stopped paying council tax then are voices would most certainly be heard. But it's typical leaders who have no clue how the town should be run. As these changes do not affect them.

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    Ipswich Sucks

    Friday, March 1, 2013

  • This is totally disgusting. All of the money spent on roadworks that did not need any improvement. Removing underpasses that could potentially save a life instead of risking running across the road. IBC really need to screw their heads on properly. Management are all sitting cushty in their rural homes, they need a taste of what real life is.

    Report this comment

    Chloeden92

    Friday, March 1, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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