Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 7°C

min temp: 6°C

Search

Ipswich: 9p a week council tax rise approved while opposition Tories are divided on plans for alternative budget

PUBLISHED: 20:04 26 February 2014 | UPDATED: 11:01 27 February 2014

Conservative group leader Chris Stewart.

Conservative group leader Chris Stewart.

Archant

Ipswich council voted to put up its element of council tax by fractionally under 2% during a budget debate which saw the small Conservative opposition split over its own amendment.

The Labour-run authority proposed the budget which will see council tax bills for occupiers of a Band B house – the most numerous in the borough – rise by 9p a week.

However Tory leader Chris Stewart put forward an alternative budget that would have seen £1 million taken from reserves and a further £90,000 raised from increasing the number of shows at the Regent theatre allowing a council tax freeze, investment in filling potholes, and encouraging new national retailers to come to the town.

Mr Stewart said: “At a time when we are frequently being reminded of the financial pressure on hard working families, it seems rather off message for the Ipswich Labour administration to be proposing to raise the rate of council tax.”

However his message did not go down well with his predecessor as group leader, John Carnall, or colleagues George Debman and Kym Stroet who all abstained when the amendment was put to the vote.

Council leader David Ellesmere, whose Labour group has an overwhelming majority on the council, said the amendment was flawed in many ways.

“There are fewer shows at the Regent, but that is because there will be work there from May until August putting in new air conditioning and heating. It’s not available then.

“The potholes are the responsibility of the county council and they have shown no wish to co-operate with the borough since they took back the contract to maintain the roads in the town from us last year!”

Presenting the budget proposals, Mr Ellesmere said the council was continuing to face serious cuts in government funding. Since 2010 the grant to the council had fallen by 42% – a total of £5 million.

“Despite this, we have built the first council houses in a generation, we are about to start work on more than 100 homes in Bader Close and we are looking at building 300 council homes over the next three years.”

The borough was determined to protect services, and the budget would ensure it could continue to support people and businesses in the town.

Witham MP Priti Patel faced questions over the prospect of a possible Cabinet return this morning in her first broadcast interview since quitting over her secret meetings with senior Israeli figures last year.

This is the last week that market traders will operate from Ipswich’s Cornhill for at least a year as work to rebuild the town centre is due to start.

Drivers are being warned they could face delays as roadworks begin at one of Ipswich’s busiest junctions this morning.

The government has still not agreed a deal to end its £50m commitment for the regional fire control “white elephant” in Cambridgeshire – nearly two years after negotiations started.

A police helicopter was involved in a search which continues this morning for a motorist involved in a single-vehicle crash in Suffolk last night.

James Blunt and Plan B have joined this year’s Newmarket Nights line-up.

Police are at the scene of a crash on the A1071 near Hintlesham this evening. Updates here.

Most read

Eating Out in the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Eating Out
supplement

View

Visit the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Visit the Broads
supplement

View

London Boat Show 2018

cover

Click here to view
London Boat
Show supplement

View

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24