Council plans 4.5% tax hike

By John HowardCONSERVATIVE councillors have defended their administration's plan to increase council tax bills by 4.5%, despite being elected to keep rises as low as possible.

By John Howard

CONSERVATIVE councillors have defended their administration's plan to increase council tax bills by 4.5%, despite being elected to keep rises as low as possible.

The Conservative/Independent-run Mid Suffolk District Council has a proposed budget of about £9.5million for 2005-6 and wants to put its share of council tax bills up by 4.5%.

That would mean band D residents paying £127.91, an increase of £5.51 on 2004-5, in addition to charges for the county council, Suffolk police and possibly town and parish councils.


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Penny Otton, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition group, said: “I am disappointed that there is nothing in the budget for the community, such as providing out of hours help with noisy neighbours, noisy parties going on all night.

“There is nothing for the crime and disorder partnership, nothing to help people get disabled facilities, grants.”

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But Roger Saunders, leader of the council, said: “We are always mindful who it is paying council tax and to who we are responsible.

“Over three-quarters of the properties in the district are at bands A to D and, two-thirds are bands A to C, for which the annual increase is below £5 and below 10p a week.”

The budget was proposed yesterday at a meeting of Mid Suffolk District Council's executive committee and will be voted on at a meeting of the full council on March 3.

A council spokeswoman added: “Recommendations made yesterday mean that the majority of Mid Suffolk residents will be paying an increase of 10p or less a week for their district council services.

“Mid Suffolk District Council collects council tax on behalf of other authorities. Although final figures have yet to be confirmed, it is believed that the overall average headline council tax rise will be around 3.1%.”

Stephen Joyce, its head of financial management, added: “We will be marshalling our resources to do what is relevant to our priorities. This is good stewardship and good financial management.”

john.howard@eadt.co.uk

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