Three per cent to go on tax bills

TAX payers in the Suffolk Coastal area face a three per cent increase in their council bills this year - just eight pence a week more for the average household.

TAX payers in the Suffolk Coastal area face a three per cent increase in their council bills this year - just eight pence a week more for the average household.

Despite significant falls in income and following a massive review of spending and a huge cost-cutting drive, Suffolk Coastal says it is doing all it can to keep the council tax down.

Government appears set to give the district - which includes Felixstowe, Woodbridge, Kesgrave, Martlesham and the Trimley villages - only a 1.96pc increase in the grant this year, which means it will receive only �8.1 million towards the cost of services, a rise of �156,000 on the current year.

Its proposed budget for 2009-10 is �15,580,000, so �7.1m will have to be raised from the council tax.


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“The ongoing failure of the government to properly fund rural councils like Suffolk Coastal at the expense of city councils means we are once again under severe financial pressure and have had to bridge a gap of �850,000 between our estimated income and planned spending,” said council leader Ray Herring.

“The economic downturn has hit our income, with a big drop in money from planning applications, building control and land charges, while the cuts in interest rates are affecting us as well.

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“The unwanted and wasteful distraction of the review of local government in Suffolk has caused uncertainty as well, but we remain committed to providing good value for money services to our residents.”

The collapse in the housing market will see the council's expected earnings fall �330,000 next year, while the drop in interest rates will reduce its income by �350,000.

To help keep costs down, the council's budget includes no allowance for inflation, meaning most services will have to find more savings, while most of the council's charges, including car parks, will be frozen because of the financial squeeze facing the district.

“This provisional budget will be further reviewed between now and the end of February but it reflects our efforts to constrain our spending and deliver a budget that does not use smoke and mirrors to put off tough decisions to another year,” said Mr Herring.

Are you happy with a three pc rise in council tax? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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