September 2 2014 Latest news:
Monday, March 10, 2014
Homes in Ipswich have the second lowest council tax bills in Suffolk – higher only than those in the Waveney district in the far north east of the county.
The figures have come from the government’s Department of Communities and Local Government – and tell a very different story to the usual method of comparing council tax rates which has Ipswich at the top of Suffolk league table.
The DCLG figures show that the “average” council tax bill in the town is £960 for the current year.
In Waveney the average bill is £928, in Suffolk Coastal it is £1,219, in Mid Suffolk £1,238, in Babergh £1,206, and in St Edmundsbury £1,165.
The low rate in Ipswich and Waveney is because both are based on large towns with a high proportion of small homes.
The government sees the “average” home as being in Band D, typically a three-bedroomed detached house, however in Ipswich 87% of homes are in bands A-C, with 68% being in the bottom two bands.
Also there are many more people in Ipswich and Waveney whose council tax is reduced because they are entitled to benefits.
Ipswich council’s Labour leader David Ellesmere welcomed the publication of the figures: “This explodes the myth, which has been repeated by the town’s MP, that council tax bills in Ipswich are very high.
“It turns out they are among the lowest in Suffolk. It is ridiculous to treat Band D homes as average in Ipswich when they are such a small proportion (7%) of the total in the town.”
Ipswich Conservative MP Ben Gummer was unrepentant about repeating his call for a reduction in council tax bills in the town.
He produced figures to show that of the 91 local authorities in England with a higher proportion of Band A homes than Ipswich, 82 had lower council tax bills.
He said: “However you want to present these figures it is a fact that people in Ipswich pay too high council tax.
“It would be better if the council followed the lead of other Labour authorities across the country and froze its council tax rather than increasing it.”