Council tax rise could be ten per cent
HOUSEHOLDERS in Suffolk are facing Council Tax rises of about 10 per cent from April as the Government squeezes local authorities.The Treasury, anxious to keep its money for government projects like new hospitals, improving the transport system, and direct cash injection to schools, is giving less to local councils.
HOUSEHOLDERS in Suffolk are facing Council Tax rises of about 10 per cent from April as the Government squeezes local authorities.
The Treasury, anxious to keep its money for government projects like new hospitals, improving the transport system, and direct cash injection to schools, is giving less to local councils.
That means they have to raise more money from local residents.
Council leaders across the county are resigned to the increase – five times the current rate of inflation.
But they were frustrated that they will have to bear the brunt of tax rises.
Ipswich council Labour leader Peter Gardiner is especially concerned – his authority is facing all-out elections for the first time in 23 years in May.
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"We are looking at an increase in the order of 10 per cent. It's frustrating, but the government is putting more emphasis on county council services like education," he said.
"We won't know the exact final figures until early next month – but we are expecting to have to put up bills just to stand still."
Mr Gardiner warned that Government spending restrictions could prevent the introduction of some long-awaited new services like the extension of the popular "brown bin" scheme to collect organic waste.
In Suffolk Coastal, the Conservative leader Ray Herring said his colleagues expected council tax bills to increase by about 9.6pc.
"We are trying to bring it down from that figure, but the Government is only prepared to increase our grant by less than we need – which means more of the increase is ratcheted on to Council Tax payers," he said.
County council leader Jane Hore was not prepared to discuss the likely increase from County Hall.
However she had heard the figure of 10pc mentioned and felt it was fairly accurate.
Ipswich MP Chris Mole – who was leader of Suffolk County Council until he entered the House of Commons in November's by-election, felt that the Government settlement was fair.
"It is certainly much better than that which councils used to get five or six years ago," he said.