Good news for households

SUFFOLK households were today given some long-awaited good news – chancellor Gordon Brown is cutting council tax bills by 1.5 percent.That should mean next year's council tax increases are well under half those suffered by Suffolk households this April – working out at around £60 for a Band B home.

SUFFOLK households were today given some long-awaited good news – chancellor Gordon Brown is cutting council tax bills by 1.5 percent.

That should mean next year's council tax increases are well under half those suffered by Suffolk households this April – working out at around £60 for a Band B home.

In his pre-budget statement Mr Brown told the House of Commons he was giving local authorities across the country £406 million to cut council tax.

Suffolk County Council has been told it will be getting £3 million, which should allow it to make the 1.5 pc cut.


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The county had said it needed an eight pc rise in government grants to retain services at their existing level, but in the event was only offered an extra 5.7 pc.

However officials have been busy making cuts and are still looking at making further savings.

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They were already confident they would be able to bring in a council tax increase of below 10 pc and with a reduction to the discount on second homes saving a further 1pc, many people expected council tax rises to be about 8pc next year.

With the new 1.5pc reduction, that would bring the increase down to 6.5pc – just over a third of this year's increase.

It would mean an increase in council tax bills for a Band B property in Ipswich – the most common band in the town – of about £63 rather than the £150 they went up this year.

In Felixstowe it would push Band B council tax bills up by £58 rather than the £136 they went up this year.

Leaders of the pressure group PACTS (Protest Against Council Tax in Suffolk) welcomed the news of the chancellor's statement.

"This sounds very good, we shall be discussing it at our committee meeting today," said PACTS leader Reg Hartles.

"But the fight goes on – I'm sure the government would not have done this had it not been for the pressure from groups like us all over the country," he said.

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