Tax rise lowest ever
The county council has claimed that its proposed below inflation rise in council tax of 50p a week will be enough to finance a budget to protect essential services for vulnerable people.
SUFFOLK: The county council has claimed that its proposed below inflation rise in council tax of 50p a week will be enough to finance a budget to protect essential services for vulnerable people.
The 2.4 percent proposed increase - revealed in yesterday's Evening Star - is the lowest rise in Suffolk's history and comes at a time when the county's elderly population is on the increase.
Jane Storey, the council's deputy leader and portfolio holder for resources, said that for 94pc of people aged 60 and over, the rise in council tax would be lower than the increase in the old age pension.
“In a time of recession, and with an aging population, more people than ever need our help,” said Mrs Storey. “We are mindful of the need to keep council tax as low as possible without jeopardising essential services.”
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Mrs Storey pledged there would be no compulsory redundancies as a result of the budget, although the council will have to find �9.3million in efficiency savings from April 1.
An extra �1.5m is being put aside for mending pot holes caused by this month's severe weather, while more money will be found to help care for older people who need specialist support and �1.6m for additional numbers of young people entering the care system.
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Major building and capital projects costing �140.5m will be financed in the next year, of which �68.7m will be invested in school buildings and �41.6m for environment and transport.
However, Liberal Democrat opposition group leader Kathy Pollard warned that the social care budget could be clobbered. “I find it hard to believe that this budget does not put any services in jeopardy.
“I think there will be severe cuts in adult care and services for children and young people as the council pushes through its plans to scrap Suffolk's middle schools.”
The budget will be presented to a meeting of the Council's Cabinet on February 2
In addition to the county's tax, householders will be billed for district authority services and policing.