Five per cent tax rise for Coastal

TAX payers in Suffolk Coastal look set to face a rise of nearly five per cent this year, it was revealed today.The council attributes the below average rise to savings of more than £1 million.

TAX payers in Suffolk Coastal look set to face a rise of nearly five per cent this year, it was revealed today.

The council attributes the below average rise to savings of more than £1 million.

It will mean the average bill for households in Felixstowe, Woodbridge, Kesgrave, Martlesham and The Trimleys will rise by around £6.

Band D properties currently face a bill of £119.88 from the district council and this is expected to rise to £125.82 - a 4.95pc increase.

Families will also have to pay the county and town/parish council bills, plus a sum levied by the police authority.

Details of the latest figures will be given to Suffolk Coastal's cabinet on February 1 and the budget of £12.8m will then be finally agreed on February 24.

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It says the increase is "below the average" for shire districts and does not expect the government to cap its spending.

The increase meets the target set by councillors last summer, and has been achieved by a combination of cuts, changes to the way the council operates, new partnerships with outside providers, and price increases for services.

Savings of £1,063,000 include more than £116,000 from working with the private sector to reduce the need for bed and breakfast for the homeless, £47,000 from transferring sports centres to a private operator, and £87,000 from making changes to top management.

A report to go to cabinet says that all business processes have been reviewed and using new technology to its maximum was also helping to keep costs down.

Work being done now would also help the council in the years ahead.

Further savings would still be needed, but these would now be less than initially expected - £708,000 next year and £1.3m the following year.

The council is still having to use some of its reserves, but hopes that this fund will be boosted by selling assets in the next couple of years, including £400,000 from the few dwellings it still owns and kept after it sold its council houses.

n. What do you think of the rise? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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