Suffolk coastal tax rise announced

TAX payers in the Suffolk Coastal area will pay 4.95 per cent more for services in the year ahead after councillors slashed £1 million from their budget.

TAX payers in the Suffolk Coastal area will pay 4.95 per cent more for services in the year ahead after councillors slashed £1 million from their budget.

It will mean band D households paying £125.82 towards the authority's costs plus their county, police, town and parish demands.

The district council, which set a budget of £12.8m, warned that over the next two years it will have to find further savings of £1.3m to keep future council tax rises as low because of reducing government grant.

Council leader Ray Herring said: "Suffolk Coastal has again received a government grant increase below the national average, and the lowest in Suffolk – a mere £250,000 extra to help us meet this district's growing needs.


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"Six years ago, when I became leader of this council, the council tax payers of Suffolk Coastal, many of them pensioners, were paying less than 37pc of this council's net expenditure, the government was paying 63pc.

"But slowly by stealth, government share has fallen to 53pc, and so the Suffolk Coastal tax payer share has risen to 47pc – almost a 35pc increase.

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"On top of this, the government has continued to give councils more duties – delegating the responsibility but without increasing their grants to meet the additional costs, leaving the council tax payer to pick up the bill.

"These facts mean Suffolk Coastal has faced unprecedented loss of grant."

Councillors had looked for improved efficiency, as well as savings, and also sought to increase income wherever possible, while desperately trying not to harm services of which it is proud.

Mr Herring said the budget represented excellent value for money and there were many initiatives planned to make a real and positive difference to the quality of life in the district.

Cabinet member Colin Hart said it was "not a slash and burn budget" and the council had considered carefully and painstakingly every aspect of its work, expenditure and income to improve efficiency rather than simply cut services.

But Liberal Democrat group leader Christine Block felt some of the savings would hit some people hard and she called on the council to listen to the public over what it would like its tax spent on.

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