Ipswich council tax bills to go up as borough promises no service cuts

David Ellesmere said government cuts had not prevented the council investing in Ipswich. Picture: IP

David Ellesmere said government cuts had not prevented the council investing in Ipswich. Picture: IPSWICH COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

Council tax bills in Ipswich are to go up by 4.7% in April, it was confirmed on Wednesday as the borough set its element of the charge.

The borough is putting its charge up by 2.99% – the lowest of the three authorities. The county council is putting its element up by 3.99% (including a 1% social care surcharge) while Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore is putting his charge up by 12.68%.

The increase means that the council tax bill for a Band B home in Ipswich (the greatest proportion in the town) will go up from £1,386.77 a year to £1,452.15 a year – a rise of £65.38.

The rise was approved by the borough at its full meeting on Wednesday evening – and council leader David Ellesmere said its increase would allow the borough to carry on without cutting services. The borough’s element for Band B properties is increasing by £8.19 a year.

Mr Ellesmere said: “In the year before we took over in 2011, the council got £15m from the government and was expecting the reserves to run out in 2014. Now we are getting £6m from the government and the reserves will last at least until 2024.”

He said a major reason for the council’s being able to continue to fund services was its investments in commercial businesses producing a regular income of £2.25m a year.

“We are able to work to make Ipswich a better place to live with investment in CCTV and events around the town – including Ed Sheeran coming to Chantry Park for four nights.”

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Opposition leader Ian Fisher criticised the administration for blaming the government for all its problems – and said it was not doing enough partnership work to improve the town.

“Labour is the party which cannot get to work with developers to improve the town,” he said.

He was concerned that the council had invested a great deal of money in retail properties at a time when that sector was being seriously hit by the internet.

Liberal Democrat Inga Lockington accepted that government spending cuts had hit councils hard – and felt it was important that the council backed sports and leisure to encourage people to leave their homes and socialise to reduce the danger of more isolation and loneliness among those who might not otherwise leave their homes.

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