Council's pledge on tax rise
By Sarah ChambersA COUNCIL has said it hopes to keep its tax rise to between 4% and 5% – and added it was not planning any more job cuts in the coming year.
By Sarah Chambers
A COUNCIL has said it hopes to keep its tax rise to between 4% and 5% – and added it
was not planning any more job cuts in the coming year.
Mid Suffolk district councillors hope to reach agreement at an executive committee meeting tomorrow on the council tax increase they should aim for when they set the budget for the coming financial year on March 3.
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The cash-strapped council made about 30 redundancies, many through natural wastage and long-term vacancies, this financial year as the new Conservative administration wrestled with a difficult budget.
But the Conservative leadership now hopes the council's financial problems are behind them and they will be able to keep the council tax increase as low as possible.
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Finance portfolio holder Christopher Lawrence said: "We are reasonably confident of bringing it a little below 5% unless something comes out of the woodwork we don't know about."
He added the Conservative administration had presided over "a major downward trend" in increases since coming to power in May 2003.
"When we took over the administration the Mid Suffolk District Council proportion of council tax was just under 7.5% and this current year we brought that down to 6%," said Mr Lawrence.
"In the two-and-a-half years we have been in power, we would have almost halved the Mid Suffolk District Council element."
He added the Conservative administration had aimed to be prudent in its spending. "We look at every single commitment we have got, we hold managers to that level."
Mr Lawrence said when the Conservatives had come to power, they faced "huge overspends" and had had to make large numbers of redundancies and "really go through services and slash things".
But he added that, other than "trimming round the edges", they were not planning any specific service cuts this year and there were no planned redundancies.
Mr Lawrence also pointed out that two inspections from the audit office had showed the council had done "very well" with its budget.