March 17 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, February 8, 2014
Residents in a Suffolk district could be hit with larger council tax bills after the Government changed the rules for when a referendum is triggered over a proposed increase.
Mid Suffolk District Council has proposed to up council tax by 1.72% for a Band D property.
Councillors will meet on February 27 to make a decision on the proposed tax rise but on Wednesday, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, revealed the limit from when a referendum would take place would be 2%.
Over the past three years the council has frozen the tax – taking supplementary government grants to shore-up its finances. Mr Pickles had called for a referendum level of 1% but his coalition Liberal Democrat colleagues pushed it up to 2%.
Leader of the council, Conservative Derrick Haley, said: “No decision has been made, the increase is a suggestion; it’s a rather small amount.
“My view was to increase the tax last year, but I was persuaded at the last minute not to do it.
“At the moment we are considering all sorts of things until the meeting of February 27 takes place.”
The proposed 1.72% increase is equivalent to a 5p per week rise for Band D properties.
Leader of the opposition, Green councillor, Andrew Stringer, said: “Our view is that council tax should have risen by this amount of the last two years. We need to make sure the money that we do have is out there working for people.”
The council argues the rise is necessary to “protect” and “enhance” services. Council bosses said the money would complement its “invest-to-prosper” strategy at a time when government funding was declining.