Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 11°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.

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.”

0 comments

A Snowdon Mountain Railway train leaves from the summit of Mount Snowdon, North Wales. Photo credit should read: Neil Squires/PA Wire.

A Martlesham man is angry after a booked trip on a steam train up Snowdon was cancelled due to an obese family taking up all the room in his carriage.

Some of the events are being held at St Michael's Church

Professional artists will be inspiring people to try their hand at drawing in a picturesque Suffolk town.

Alan Havers and Pat Kench cut the ribbon at Worlingworth community centre

Hundreds of people from a Suffolk village attended a weekend of free festivities to celebrate decades of fundraising for their community.

A 170-tonne electricity tranformer could cause traffic delays on Saturday as it slowly makes its way along the A12 in Suffolk. Photo by Liam McLoughlin, Collett & Sons Ltd

A 170-tonne electricity transformer the size of a bungalow is being transported along the A12 in Suffolk on Saturday.

The cannabis plants found at a home in Peel Crescent, Braintree

Essex Police officers carrying out a drugs warrant have arrested a man after discovering a haul of cannabis plants at a home in Braintree.

 
	Framlingham fireworks display

Organisers of a Suffolk town’s annual fireworks display say this year’s festivities will feature a “memorable” show with “unique effects”.

A computer-generated image of how the Sizewell complex will look after construction of Sizewell C.

Chinese backers yesterday signed important financial agreements connected to the construction of Suffolk’s yet-to-be-approved Sizewell C nuclear power station.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24