Council tax bills set to rise

THOUSANDS of residents in Suffolk could see further council tax increases of up to 10% over the next three years it has been revealed.Council tenants within the Babergh district will also be hit in the pocket when their rents go up by 4.

THOUSANDS of residents in Suffolk could see further council tax increases of up to 10% over the next three years it has been revealed.

Council tenants within the Babergh district will also be hit in the pocket when their rents go up by 4.2% from April.

The startling figures have been revealed as Babergh District Council passed its budget for the 2004/05 financial year.

Although the authority is delighted to have kept council tax increase for the coming year down to just 2.8%, one of the lowest in the county, residents could see their rates soar once again over the next three years.


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The predicated tax hikes in the district will be caused due to a variety of factors including inflation, a reduction of financial support from Suffolk County Council towards recycling schemes and a phased reduction in the use of council reserves.

New Government guidelines have also forced the authority to put up its council house rents by 4.2%. This is due the Government's objective to bring rents for council properties into line with those charged by other social landlords by 2011.

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Sue Carpendale, chairman of Babergh's strategy committee said: "I do have to sound a word of warning in relation to future years. Budget projections for the next three years of this council, before any allowance at all is made for additional expenditure on service priorities and possible savings, indicate that increases of between 5% and 10% may arise in those years.

"The reduction of £110,000 a year in the use of council reserves is the equivalent to a 3% increase in council tax in its own right. Clearly, there will be a lot more work to do on the service and financial planning process in those years as well.

"We are now approaching the third year of the Government's rent restructuring requirements. The result of these long-term requirements is that rents will need to increase on average next year by 4.2%."

The prospect of yet further council tax increases in the next few years is certain to infuriate many residents who saw massive increases of more than 18% last year.

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