Babergh outlines 2021 council tax and savings plans

Suffolk County Council's latest figures suggest a £43m impact from coronavirus for 2020/21. Picture

Babergh District Council has announced its draft 2021 budget - Credit: Archant

A council tax rise of just under 3% is being planned by a Suffolk council, while savings or additional charges in swimming programmes, car parking and garden waste collection are also on the cards.

Babergh District Council on Tuesday unveiled its draft budget for 2021 in which it plans to increase council tax by 2.96% - around £5 per year extra for a Band D property.

West Suffolk gardeners will get their brown bins emptied again from June. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Garden waste subscriptions in Babergh will increase from April 2021 up to £55 per year - Credit: Archant

Elsewhere, the garden waste subscription service will rise by £2.50 up to £55 per year annually to generate £60,000 more in income, while funding for free swimming for children under the age of 16 in the school holidays is being axed to save £38,000.

Plans to reduce free parking from three hours to 30 minutes will also help the council generate £244,000.

Conservative leader at Babergh's coalition administration, John Ward, said: "We do not take any increases lightly, but by making these difficult decisions now, we can ensure that we are in a position to support Babergh’s recovery post-Covid – and continue to create communities with bright and healthy futures that people are proud to call home.

Babergh Conservative leader John Ward said it was a good step for the councils to take. Picture: SAR

Conservative leader of Babergh District Council, John Ward, said decisions on the budget were not taken lightly - Credit: Archant

"We have supported businesses and the most vulnerable in our communities throughout the pandemic and will continue to do so – supporting the local economy and helping our district through this crisis and beyond.  However, this is not without cost. 

“We have also made climate change commitments that we must be able to afford to meet – not just for Babergh’s residents now, but for generations to come – and there are still ongoing challenges as all councils become independent of government financial support. 

"This means there may be some difficult choices ahead in order to ensure we have the financial resilience and stability to ensure we can continue to offer the services that people rely upon.”

Other savings include £128,000 in ICT costs and £64,000 saved in reduced travel costs.

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The proposals are set to be discussed at Babergh's cabinet meeting on January 7 before going to scrutiny committee on January 18.

Final approval is to be given by full council in February before being implemented in April.

It follows Suffolk County Council’s announcement that it would be upping its portion of the council tax bill by 4% – equivalent to £53.55 per year more for a Band D home.