Anger over council tax hike remains

ANGRY objectors to the hike in this year's council tax took to the streets in Ipswich in protest today.Members of P.A.C.T.S (Protest Against Council Taxes Suffolk) – most of them pensioners – stood outside Ipswich Town Hall in an attempt to grab the attention of Suffolk County Council.

ANGRY objectors to the hike in this year's council tax took to the streets in Ipswich in protest today.

Members of P.A.C.T.S (Protest Against Council Taxes Suffolk) – most of them pensioners – stood outside Ipswich Town Hall in an attempt to grab the attention of Suffolk County Council.

Shouting in protest, they waved banners that read, "Support us against this immoral tax", and "Inflation 3 per cent. Council tax over 18 per cent. What next?"

Although the protestors were resigned to this year's 18.5 per cent rise in council tax, they hoped to get a reassurance from Suffolk County Council that there would be no such increase next year.

Reg Hartles, 70, of Glemsford Close, Felixstowe, had a large part to play in organising today's protest.

He said: "The increase is far too much – six times the rate of inflation is just not fair.

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"I have paid my council tax, but for the past three months I have only been paying the same amount as last year plus three per cent.

P.A.C.T.S member Tom Sully, 70, of Woodlands in Chelmondiston, added: "We are not going to get the council tax reduced this year, but we want a real promise that it won't go up next year."

The protest attracted attention from many passers-by – who were similarly outraged at the jump in this year's council tax.

Margaret Sobato, 55, of Franciscan court in Ipswich, has paid her council tax, but is very angry at the amount she had to pay.

She said: "The tax gets higher and higher, but wages are not going up. You work all your life, but you end up poor. It is such a shame."

The council tax rise was agreed in March in the teeth of strong opposition from Conservative councillors and some Liberal Democrats whose party forms part of the administration at County Hall.

Council executive member David Rowe said today: "We respect people's right to protest and encourage residents to have their say.

"We know the 18.5 rise in our portion of council tax is high and realise it is difficult for some but improving our services to the people of Suffolk is a top priority of the budget we have set."

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