Suffolk Coastal: District authority determined to freeze council tax for third year
06:00 01 February 2013
THE leader of a district authority has said it hopes to freeze its portion of the council tax for another year - despite a £1million cut in government funding.
Suffolk Coastal’s Ray Herring said although further savings now had to be found he was determined front line services would not suffer. The council’s grant from Government has been cut by 7% for 2013/14 - a little over £1m.
It immediately meant the authority had to find a further £200,000 of savings for the coming financial year and a total of £1.1m extra by 2016/17.
Mr Herring said: “The consequences on our budgets are much more significant than it first seemed. However, the good news for our communities is that it will not derail our spending plans or our intention to freeze our Council Tax for the third consecutive year.”
Mr Herring said the district’s strong economy had helped sweeten the latest cuts as Whitehall’s new business rate retention scheme could see Suffolk Coastal claw back nearly £2.7m in 2013/14. He continued: “It will help us protect our communities’ priority services. It could also give us more ability to help our communities attract the new jobs and homes that our young people desperately need and so make our district even stronger in the future.
“However, this is a new way of funding and the benefits could be taken away again just as easily as they appeared. Local government has probably delivered the greatest share of savings of any section of the public sector but the demands for more from Whitehall are unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. These remain tough times and we have to continue our drive to ensure we are working as efficiently and business-like as possible. What we must and will do is to use all our resources, including this additional funding, wisely and for the long-term future of our district.”
Suffolk Coastal will set its council tax for 2013/14 at a meeting on February 28.