Higher taxes - highes expenses

COUNCIL tax bills in mid Suffolk are set to rise by an average of £37 – at the same time as councillors look set to pay themselves more than £34,000 extra a year in expenses.

COUNCIL tax bills in mid Suffolk are set to rise by an average of £37 - at the same time as councillors look set to pay themselves more than £34,000 extra a year in expenses.

Members from Mid Suffolk district council have an important budget meeting tomorrow to decide how to balance the finance books for the next year.

It proposes to put a 4.5per cent increase on the average charge on council tax bills, while upping their payments to the 40 council members by almost £1,000 each a year.

The total amount of allowances and expenses for 2004/05 was £153,162. It is predicted to rise to £187,814 for 2005/06.


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The 40 councillors are set to be told they can claim any number of allowances without restrictions, and the introduction of a licensing committee has added more than £27,000 to the bill.

Other proposed increases include doubling the amount available to members for the care of dependent children while at meetings, upping the amount paid to car users to 40p a mile and offering extra money for meals.

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The proposed council tax increase is expected to see the council's part of the bill for Band D homes go up from £122.41 to £127.91 - the equivalent of 11p a week.

It was revealed in the Evening Star last month that overall bills - including charges from the county council, parish and town councils and the police authority - are expected to rise by an average of 72p a week for Band D properties. They will pay an estimated £1,241, a rise of £37, or a 3.1pc increase.

The council's budget requirement for the year is £9.5million and more than £4m needs to be raised through council tax.

Roger Saunders, leader of the council, said: "We've tried to keep it down as much as possible.

"We would obviously love to make it lower as when we were elected we said increases wouldn't be higher than inflation.

"However, when we got into the books we realised we had huge amounts of money to find.

"Last year we had to raise council tax by 6pc but now we are now on the right road and aim to keep bringing it down as much as possible."

Do you think councillors are entitled to the increased expenses? Are you happy to pay council tax increases? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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