Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 6°C

min temp: 1°C

ESTD 1874 Search

St Edmundsbury: Council budgets for council tax rises amid financial pressures

06:00 13 February 2014

Dave Ray

Dave Ray

Taxpayers in west Suffolk may have to brace themselves for years of rising council tax bills as the borough council faces “difficult decisions” over future funding.

shares

St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s new Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) has budgeted for a 2% increase on residents’ council tax bills for the three years from 2015/16.

The council has been able to freeze council tax for four of the last five years, with the 2014/15 rate also set to stay the same, primarily because central government offered hundreds of thousands of pounds in incentives for local authorities to freeze their rates.

However, a grant of £295,000 next year is due to plummet to £128,000 for 2015/16, with future grant support even less uncertain amid a climate of public sector austerity.

Overall, St Edmundsbury says it is facing a 48% cut in funding from central government.

David Ray, the council’s portfolio holder for resources and performance, said he could not commit to freezing taxes in the future, adding: “It’s a judgement we’ve got to make every year.

“We need to be more commercial, put our resources in things we have to do and the other priority areas we’ve decided, like economic growth, families and communities, and housing.

“This is not to say that times are not going to be hard. There are going to be difficult decisions, but we’ve set our priorities and those have to be our priorities going forward for the next few years.”

Figures from the MTFS estimate the council could face a shortfall as high as £757,000 over three years if it keeps its council tax bill at current levels.

St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath between them have saved £3.5million from moving to a shared service.

However, St Edmundsbury council says it needs to find a further £3.4m by 2018.

The council is aiming to act more commercially and perhaps even borrow money to invest, and Mr Ray said it was well-equipped going forward.

He added: “I’m very optimistic we’ve got a forward-thinking council – that’s not just the financial people, that’s across the board – and we are going to be in a good position, certainly relevant to other local authorities, in the future.

“Everybody is going through a difficult financial time as the government attempts to cut the debt
down.

“They’re trying to cut down on the cost that is going to local authorities, as they’re cutting costs to other departments.”

shares

0 comments

Former Met police officer Colin Sutton with his dog Jasper

Many might describe Colin Sutton as a ‘proper copper’ - the sort with blue blood running through his family’s veins.

Mick McCarthy, Manager of Ipswich Town shouts instructions Bristol City v Ipswich Town

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy says he is as frustrated and agitated as supporters after this afternoon’s 2-1 defeat at relegation-battling Bristol City made it four losses from five games in all competitions.

The Belstead House in Pinweood, Ipswich.

Frustrated councillors who object to plans to build 155 homes in their parish are threatening legal action against planners.

Fire crews free trapped horse. Library image.

Three fire crews helped to release a horse trapped inside a horse box this afternoon.

Terry Brown stands next to a sign he erected to urge BT to take action

A Finningham man has claimed his father “could have died” after BT left his elderly parents without signal for a fortnight.

Southwold

A Suffolk GP surgery has been rated as Outstanding following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

A file picture of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service.

Firefighters were called to a home in Springfield Road in the early hours.

Most read

Fred Olsen Travel Sale

cover

Click here to view
the Fred Olsen
Travel Sale

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24