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Babergh: Taxes to be frozen – but rents could rise

PUBLISHED: 06:00 08 January 2014

Jennie Jenkins.

Jennie Jenkins.

Archant

Council tax payers in south Suffolk should see their bills frozen next year – but tenants should be prepared for a rent increase.

That’s the warning from Babergh Council as it struggles to draw up a budget for 2014/15.

The council’s tax bid and rent levels are due to be discussed by its strategy committee next week, and committee chair Jennie Jenkins said its priority was to strengthen the authority’s financial base.

She said: “Babergh is looking to overhaul our budgeting process so that we can effectively deliver the Council’s priorities for targeted economic growth and community prosperity and we believe holding Council Tax at its present level for 2014/15 will help in achieving this.”

The increase in rents for its 3,500 would be necessary to allow the council to invest more in increasing the number of affordable homes available for rent in the district.

Mrs Jenkins said: “We are regrettably presented with a situation that means to a greater or lesser extent we need to put our rents up in order to resource future housing opportunities.

“We have been liaising with the Babergh Tenants’ Forum in working up these options and I believe that these tenants representatives are broadly supportive in us using the additional revenues from rents to widen the housing choices for our communities in the future”.

The Babergh element of council tax bills in south Suffolk is relatively small – and the county council, responsible for by far the largest proportion, has already pledged to freeze council tax bills until 2017.

Mid Suffolk set to increase council tax bills – see page 19.

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