Council tax hike sparks fury

SUFFOLK POLITICIANS have rounded on huge tax rises as householders in face a council tax bill more than six times the rate of inflation a huge hike in council tax bill.

SUFFOLK POLITICIANS have rounded on huge tax rises as householders in face a council tax bill more than six times the rate of inflation a huge hike in council tax bill.

And despite an increased grant from the government, council bosses are today blaming a lack of funding for a massive 18.3 per cent hike.

David Ruffley, Tory MP for Stowmarket and Needham Market, called the 18.4 per cent rise "unacceptable" as he called on county hall to account for every pound in the tax bill.

"My constituents' pensions haven't gone up seven times the rate of inflation, the cost of living hasn't risen by 18 per cent.

"This is a whacking great increase which is paying for some wasteful expenditure at county hall – and we all know that.

"If County Hall can say that every single pound is well spent then I'm a Dutchman."

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Borough and district councils' contributions – which account for around 25 per cent of the total bill, with the county element making up 65 per cent – have yet to be finalised.

It is thought that Babergh and Suffolk Coastal residents can expect 10 per cent increase on these parts of their bills.

Ipswich residents are looking at around 11 per cent, with Mid Suffolk residents escaping with a rise of just seven per cent.

Homes in Band B, the most numerous in the county, will have to pay £692.02 to the county before borough or district and parish elements are taken into consideration.

And the Suffolk Police Authority, which makes up about a tenth of the yearly council tax bill, is expected to go for an even larger percentage increase - possibly more than 30 per cent.

The rise is due to be discussed by members of the county's executive committee next Tuesday . The final figure will be set by a full meeting of the council on February 27.

The figures are not fixed at present because the exact details of the government grants available are not known.

David Rowe, portfolio holder for strategic and financial planning at the county council, said: "I know this is a large increase.

"But we have taken a clear and conscious decision to set a budget that will deliver service improvements for everyone in the county.

"Standing still is not enough. Even if we had decided to set a budget to do that, we would still have had to increase council tax by more than 13 per cent. The county council is facing inflation which far outstrips that affecting retail prices, and we are also coping with greatly increased demand for services, particularly in social care.

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