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Tax hike to pay for more bobbies

PUBLISHED: 22:16 22 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:24 03 March 2010

COUNCIL tax bills in Ipswich are set to rise by 12 per cent from April, the Evening Star can reveal today.

The bill for a band B property - most homes in the town are in Band B - is set to go up from £736-33 a year to £826-28 a year.

COUNCIL tax bills in Ipswich are set to rise by 12 per cent from April, the Evening Star can reveal today.

The bill for a band B property – most homes in the town are in Band B – is set to go up from £736-33 a year to £826-28 a year.

Although the money is collected by Ipswich council, only a small proportion of it ends up at Civic Centre – most is handed over to Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Police Authority.

The highest percentage increase comes from the Suffolk Police Authority which today voted for a 22.25 per cent increase – enabling it to take on an extra 76 front-line police officers next year.

The county council – which uses 70 per cent of the council tax – is putting its element up by just under 12 per cent and the borough's element goes up just under 10 per cent.

But the increases are much higher than the current rate of inflation – the government's official figures put this at just 1.3 per cent for the year ending in January, 2.6 per cent if housing costs are removed from the index.

The final figures are due to be debated at Ipswich Council's full meeting next Wednesday – but it will be a major surprise if there are changes to them.

Ipswich Council leader Peter Gardiner said the increases were necessary to maintain the current level of spending – and to embark on some necessary projects.

These include replacing the roof of the Regent Theatre and starting a four-year £2 million project to renovate the Town Hall/Corn Exchange complex.

Conservative opposition leader Stephen Barker said today it was not right to increase council tax by more than the current inflation rate.

"We shan't be preparing an alternative budget because we don't have access to the full figures – but there is no reason for the council to charge people any more than the inflation rate," he said.

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