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Council tax bills in Ipswich rising in line with Whitehall edict

PUBLISHED: 12:08 25 February 2016 | UPDATED: 12:09 25 February 2016

Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere saw his administration's budget approved by the authority.

Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere saw his administration's budget approved by the authority.

Council tax bills in Ipswich are to go up by just under 2% from April - adding just over £2 a month to the annual bill for a Band B home.

The rise was confirmed last night by a full meeting of the Labour-controlled borough after it reject an amendment from the opposition Conservatives which would have seen its element of council tax bills frozen.

The borough approve a 1.97% increase in council tax bills – which when added to the 2% rise by the county council and the 1.96% rise from the Police and Crime Commissioner means that the overall rise will be 1.99%.

That will add £25 to the annual bill for a Band B home in Ipswich – and just under £20 to the annual bill for a Band A home. Homes in those two bands make up 70% of the total housing stock in the town.

The Conservatives’ freeze would have saved the occupants of Band B homes £5 a year – and cut £240,000 from next year’s borough council budget.

Council leader David Ellesmere told the meeting that the government had made it clear to councils that they were expected to put up council tax bills.

“By making this increase we can protect services but we do have to make savings and there will be more savings we have to make in future years as government support is cut – and then we have to pay money to government.

“The changes the government is making to council funding are unprecedented,” he said.

Opposition finance spokesman Eddie Phillips said a one-year freeze would partly redress the fact that the council had put up its council tax bills in earlier years when the government had urged a freeze on them.

He said: “Let’s enable our residents to keep a bit more of their own money. After all, they know how to spend their own money and we don’t have to take it off them.”

The only LibDem at the meeting, Inga Lockington, said she could not support the Tory amendment because the government clearly expected authorities to increase council tax this year.

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