Council tax rise in Suffolk one of smallest on record

COUNCIL tax bills for many households in Suffolk are set to increase by the smallest percentage rise since the tax was introduced.

Paul Geater

COUNCIL tax bills for many households in Suffolk are set to increase by the smallest percentage rise since the tax was introduced.

A survey shows that most households in the county will see their bills rise by between �28 and �30 a year.

That will equate to a rise of between 2.3% and 2.6%.

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Exact figures will vary from parish to parish - and the county's police authority will not announce its increase until this week.

One part of the county where the rise will be greater this year than it was last spring is St Edmundsbury where the council froze its council tax rate in April 2009.

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This year it is going up - but at 1.9% the rise is the smallest in the county . . . just.

Ipswich is putting up its element of the council tax by 1.94% and has the highest rate of borough or district council tax in the county - however unlike the rural parts of Suffolk there are no parish or town council charges in the borough.

The county council element of the bills - which makes up about two thirds of the total bill for households - is going up by 2.4, the lowest it has ever levied. That works out at �26.37 for the “average” Band D home.

Council tax bills for Band D homes in Suffolk Coastal will go up by about �36 a year while those in St Edmundsbury will go up by about �35 a year. That is before the parish element of the bills is added in.

In Ipswich the council tax increase for a Band D home will go up by about �38.50.

However the largest proportion of homes in Suffolk are in Band B, which works out at seven ninths of the Band D figure - with bills ranging from �27 in St Edmundsbury (before the parish element is included) to �30 in Ipswich (where there is no parish element).

Suffolk County Council's budget was steered through by deputy leader Jane Storey.

She said authorities were aware of the need to keep council tax down to a minimum: “That is the way we can bring the greatest benefit to most families.

“Only a small proportion of people are in direct contact with council services, but all households have to pay council tax,” she said.

However the low tax rises did not impress the Taxpayers' Alliance whose research director Matthew Sinclair said authorities should be looking to cut their council tax demands.

“We believe there are a great deal more efficiency savings that could be made by councils and that they should be looking to reduce the tax burden on families and businesses by cutting council tax demands.”

Proposed council tax increases in Suffolk 2010/11

Suffolk County Council: 2.4%

Babergh: 3%

Forest Heath: 3%

Ipswich: 1.94%

Mid Suffolk: 3%

St Edmundsbury: 1.9%

Suffolk Coastal: 2.9%

Waveney: 2.95%

Suffolk Police Authority: To be announced, but expected to be between 3% and 4%.

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