Tax bills to be set
FINAL figures for tax bills in Ipswich will be confirmed today when the borough council sets its level for the next financial year.The borough's meeting will come a day after the county council formally approved a 2.
FINAL figures for tax bills in Ipswich will be confirmed today when the borough council sets its level for the next financial year.
The borough's meeting will come a day after the county council formally approved a 2.5 per cent increase in its level of council tax.
The Labour/Liberal Democrat administration at Endeavour House saw its budget approved overwhelmingly yesterday after the opposition Conservative group decided against putting forward an alternative budget.
Deputy council leader and budget spokesman David Rowe said the increase had been brought in at a very low figure thanks to tough financial decisions and a generous settlement from the government.
And he said the council had managed to be classified as "excellent" in the government's comprehensive performance assessment and the social care department had been granted two stars.
He said: "People in Suffolk have confidence in their council to provide quality services and we have done it at a cost less than Norfolk, and less than Essex."
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Deputy opposition leader Peter Aldous said his group could not argue with this year's 2.5 pc increase – but that still came on the heels of much higher rises in earlier years of the administration.
He reminded councillors of the increase in 2003 that provoked widespread fury across the county.
He said: "There is no escaping their huge council tax increase which provide the base on which all future council tax increases now accrue.
"You were, you are, and you always will be the administration of 18.5 pc."
Liberal Democrats, who are in coalition with Labour at Endeavour House, also supported the increase.
Executive member Kathy Pollard said: "Instead of making arbitrary cuts we have taken a good look at our services and identified where we can work more efficiently and save money in innovative ways."
One dissenting voice came from Liberal Democrat Leslie Warmington who abstained in the budget vote because he is opposed to council tax as a way of raising revenue.
He said: "We must persuade the government to come up with a fairer way for local authorities to raise the money they need."
Tonight Ipswich Council will move into Endeavour House for its budget meeting at which it is set to approve a council tax rise of 2.41 pc, which will mean that the overall council tax rise for households in the borough – once the county and police authority's levies are included – of 2.69 pc.