Ipswich council tax bills going up by 3.7% as borough bids to save services in town

PUBLISHED: 19:36 19 February 2020 | UPDATED: 19:36 19 February 2020

Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere Picture: SU ANDERSON

Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere Picture: SU ANDERSON

Council taxpayers in Ipswich will see their bills rise by 3.7% from April after the borough council approved its budget for the next financial year.

The borough's rise is the smallest of the three elements of the tax. It is going up by a fraction under 2%. Suffolk County Council (the largest element of the bill) is going up by just under 3.9% because of the special "social care precept" and Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore is putting his element of the tax up by 4.7%.

That means the occupier of a Band B house - the band with the largest number of homes in Ipswich - will pay an extra £53.41 a year as the bill will go up from £1,452.15 to £1,505.56.

Council leader David Ellesmere said that although times were tough at the borough, his administration was determined to protect services - and compared it to the county council which is planning to boost its reserves with an increase in council tax bills.

He said: "With Labour-run Ipswich we are keeping council tax bills down, protecting services that are not available anywhere else in Suffolk, and investing in measures to protect the planet.

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"Under the Tories, Suffolk County Council is jacking up council tax, cutting vital services and taking £10m from hard-pressed Suffolk residents to sit in a bank account earning a fraction of a percent in interest."

However opposition Conservative leader Ian Fisher said the budget was too unambitious: "I have looked at many other council budgets being presented across the country and you have to look really hard to find one that is predicting such a shortfall in government funding over the coming years

"Why are we doing this? Because it fits the narrative.

"Just why are we only budgeting for a 1% rise in fees and charges when every other year it is 2 or 3%? There are no economic indicators to suggest that 2020/21 will be a worse year than all others since this administration came to power eight years ago.

"I will tell you why - because it fits the narrative and reduces the potential expected income - making the situation look worse. This really is a glass half empty budget - full of false negativity and lacking much of the good news.

However, the opposition did not propose an alternative budget and it was overwhelmingly passed by Labour council.

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