Households taxed more than four per cent

HOUSEHOLDS across Suffolk will have to pay 4.5 per cent extra to the county from April - even though bosses have warned of more cuts to services on the way.

By Paul Geater

HOUSEHOLDS across Suffolk will have to pay 4.5 per cent extra to the county from April - even though bosses have warned of more cuts to services on the way.

Members of Suffolk county council approved the rise during an afternoon debate dominated by arguments over service privatisation.

Councillors approved a budget of £393.104m and cuts of £22m in services after the Tory administration blamed the Government for failing to provide it with enough cash to maintain existing spending.

Council leader Jeremy Pembroke accused ministers of ignoring the Government's own formula and diverting cash to authorities in the north and midlands.

However opposition leader Julian Swainson said the government had increased its grant to the council by 5.3 pc - which was above the national average.

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Mr Pembroke said the situation could only improve with a radical overhaul of the way the council functioned.

“This will mean considering which functions we should provide directly and which could be provided better by others or in partnership.”

The council has paid accountants KPMG £250,000 to produce a report looking at new ways of delivering its services - a report it had wanted to keep under wraps.

It was only published by the council after The Evening Star revealed its main recommendations earlier this week, which were to privatise thousands of council jobs and some of its services.

Mr Pembroke dismissed these fears, saying the report contained options and it would be up to councillors whether they were implemented.

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