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Council tax bills going up by £60 in Suffolk after county confirms budget

PUBLISHED: 18:17 08 February 2018 | UPDATED: 18:17 08 February 2018

Members of Suffolk County Council at their budget meeting. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Members of Suffolk County Council at their budget meeting. Picture: PAUL GEATER

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Suffolk County Council’s element of tax bills is to go up by just under 5% from April – contributing to a rise of about £60 for occupants of the “average” home in the county.

Suffolk County council’s element for Band B homes – the most numerous band Suffolk – will go up by £45.91 a year and the Police and Crime Commissioner’s element will go up by £9.31.

District and borough councils will put their bills up by between £3 and £7.90 a year, and in most of the county there will be a precept by parish or town councils.

As a result bills in Ipswich will go up by £63 to £1,387 a year and in other districts they will go up by £59-£60 a year with parish precepts on top. For Band D homes, the yardstick that councils set their figures by, the rise will be between £76 and £81.

The county’s element was confirmed when the Conservative-run authority approved the 4.99% increase, 2.99% on general council tax and 2% on its social care precept, by 45 votes to 17.

A Labour motion calling on the council to abandon plans to cut its funding to Citizens Advice Bureaux by £20,000, to boost spending on subsidised bus services by £150,000 and reinstate a £14,500 cut to the Greenways Project which cares for areas of countryside was defeated.

Cabinet member for finance Richard Smith said his party was committed to offering good services at good value. He said: “In the forthcoming year we propose net spending covering the provision of services to Suffolk’s residents of £498.4m, that is a figure only just short of half a billion pounds.

“Indeed, the gross figure is around £874m, so however tight our finances are, we are still spending a very significant amount on county-wide services. We should all be proud of this, and we will continue to manage this spending responsibly and properly prioritise its use.”

In outlining the amendment, Labour deputy leader Peter Gardiner said: “We despise everything about the £12m cut to Adult Services, to the most vulnerable group in society and we would do everything we could to avoid it.

“Rightly or wrongly we assume that you feel the same way about that cut too.

“Away from this meeting we want to be part of the debate about what social care looks like in this county. We need to be sure it is not a race to the bottom; that managing down demand means high quality support where it is needed, not a decrease in quality across the board.”

The leader of Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group David Wood added: “Across the UK, councils are struggling. We all know this. Budgets are getting tighter and tighter, services are being cut, and at the end of the day it’s the most vulnerable residents that will be suffering the most.

“However, we seem to be forgetting that austerity is a choice. Each year, the Conservative government chooses to give Suffolk less funding. We, a county with a Conservative-run council, are being left completely in the lurch by your own government.”

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