Decision made on East Suffolk council tax freeze

East Suffolk Council is going to vote on not increasing council tax next year.

East Suffolk Council agreed a council tax freeze for 2021 - Credit: East Suffolk Council

A council tax freeze at East Suffolk Council has been agreed for 2021/22 in a bid to help support homes hit hard financially by the Covid-19 pandemic.

East Suffolk Council agreed its 2021/22 budget at its full council meeting on Wednesday night.

It decided to keep its element of the council tax bill the same as last year - the only district or borough council in the county to do so.

East Suffolk Council leader Steve Gallant has reminded people why to practice social distancing Pic

Conservative leader of East Suffolk Council, Steve Gallant, said a council tax freeze aimed to ease pressure on homes hit by Covid-19 - Credit: Archant

Conservative leader of the authority, Steve Gallant, said: "We are not proposing any cut in services, we will continue to deliver the same services.

"We are not proposing any cuts in our ambitions. No proposals have stopped on the basis of our financial position we find ourselves.

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"Our aim is to put no further financial pressure on our residents."

Maurice Cook, East Suffolk's cabinet member for resources

Conservative cabinet member for finance, Maurice Cook, said government support and reserves made a council tax freeze possible - Credit: East Suffolk Council

Cabinet member for finances, Maurice Cook, said that the support from government, strong levels of reserves and savings already identified meant such a council tax freeze was possible.

However, Liberal Democrat councillor David Beavan said it was "wrong to raid our reserves when we face such an uncertain future".

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He added: “It is a nice, but misguided, gesture to save our ratepayers from a council tax increase this year.

Southwold councillor David Beavan, said "we must work together" and follow the new lockdown rules to help combat the...

Liberal Democrat councillor at East Suffolk, David Beavan, cautioned against freezing council tax when finances were still so uncertain going forward - Credit: Archant

"Freezing the tax will save £10 for a person in a big house, a fiver for the rest of us and nothing for those out of work, on Universal Credit or with little savings to fall back on. 

"We are not supporting the people who really need it in my view.

"Even with low inflation, a freeze means a cut in real terms of 1%."

Councillor Tess Gandy, shadow portfolio for resources at the council's Labour group, said: "Action taken by East Suffolk is key to supporting the hardest hit in the community.

Theresa Gandy

East Suffolk Labour councillor Tess Gandy said it was important there were not cuts in services - Credit: Archant

"It is vital that there are no cuts to East Suffolk Council services because of this, and that the Labour group will be scrutinising how the budget is carried out throughout the year."

The budget proposals were approved by 43 votes to six, with one councillor abstaining.

East Suffolk council taxpayers, however, will see a rise on their bill from the £15 uplift by the police and crime commissioner and the 4% rise agreed by Suffolk County Council, as well as any town or parish council authority rise.

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