Ipswich Tories propose Council Tax freeze in the borough

Conservative group leader Nadia Cenci.

Conservative group leader Nadia Cenci. - Credit: Archant

With Ipswich preparing to set the council tax rates for the borough tomorrow night, the opposition Tory group will propose freezing the authority’s element of the tax.

The Labour-controlled borough has proposed putting up its element of council tax bills by 1.93%, which amounts to 9p a week for a Band B home – the most numerous band in the town.

The Conservative-controlled county council, which takes the largest share of council tax, has already voted to freeze its element of the tax, but police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore is putting up his authority’s element of the tax by 1.997%.

The Conservatives at the borough believe they could save £100,000 a year by cutting the number of editions of the Ipswich Angle newsletter, cutting funding to area committees, and abolishing the allowances paid to their chairs.

The cuts would also enable the borough to claim £136,000 from the government – the bonus paid to councils which freeze their tax.

Conservative group leader Nadia Cenci said: “We note that area committees are failing to spend substantial amounts from the funds allocated to each of the wards and it would not be noticeable to reduce it by this small amount.

“We think it is wrong that councillors are paid £ 3,760 per annum to chair five area committee meetings per year.”

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Labour has an overwhelming majority on the council, so there is little prospect of the opposition proposals being passed at tomorrow evening’s meeting at the Corn Exchange.

Council leader David Ellesmere said the increase was necessary to protect the long-term finances of the council – but more significant to the authority was cost-saving measures and increases in charges.

Among these cost savings is a proposal that the authority should buy its Grafton House headquarters – the interest payable on the loan for the building should by considerably less than the rent it currently pays.