Mid Suffolk council tax rise for 2021 planned

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

Mid Suffolk District Council has outlined its budget proposals for 2021 - Credit: Archant

A council tax rise of 1.66% is being proposed by Mid Suffolk District Council's administration for next year - a £2.80 increase for the year for a Band D property.

The Conservative and Independent group cabinet has outlined its budget proposals for 2021/22 ahead of a meeting on January 4, in which it proposes a rise of 1.66%, as well as pledging new affordable homes, efforts to help with economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and cash for green measures.

Conservative leader Suzie Morley said there were no cuts planned.

Mid Suffolk District Council leader Suzie Morley said it was important to have continuity for the au

Conservative leader of Mid Suffolk District Council, Suzie Morley, said the 2021 budget would deliver on economic recovery and health and wellbeing for residents - Credit: Paul Geater

"Our residents have a lot of challenges of the coming years, so what we have tried to do is make this a budget that delivers our vision adopted last year, but also we need to be looking after all our residents who have really struggled over the last six or eight months," she said.

"We know the economy is really significant in getting us out of this, and while we want to do that they have to be in tip top condition to contribute to the recovery of our economy. We are really focusing on the health and wellbeing of our residents and business to help get us out of that."

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On the council tax rise, she added: "We can keep this increase low because of the consistent leadership by this group over the last 10 years. We have been very wise in the management of our public funds, and my predecessors have taken the same view, so it is working."

The council is planning a fresh £500,000 commitment to climate change and biodiversity measures including an expansion of the Tree for Life scheme - tree planting for new born babies in the district - cycle improvements, plans for a green tariff for leisure centre providers and rewilding some parts of the district.

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Other measures in the budget include improvements to council homes, plans for a new grants scheme for small businesses and longer-term funding proposals for voluntary and community organisations the council supports.

Latest finance data indicates the authority is on course for an £848,000 surplus this year despite the Covid-19 disruption.

Mid Suffolk Liberal Democrat leader John Field said the union with Green councillors continued their

John Field, deputy leader of Mid Suffolk's opposition Green and Liberal Democrat group, said he wanted to see budget surpluses used for the benefit of the community - Credit: Archant

Councillor John Field, deputy leader of the opposition Green and Liberal Democrat group, said: “The budget shows substantial surpluses which are resources which have not been used for the benefit of our residents. 

"The Chancellor has seen the need to increase expenditure to support the economy and we too must strike the right balance between low tax and support to people and business. 

"At present the administration is cautious in this area but markedly less so in embracing the risks of investment in commercial property via CIFCO.  The government has restricted access to PWLB funds for this purpose and the group believes we should accept their decision and not extend the risks any further.”

"Where we have worked with the Conservatives in joint groups on the environment and biodiversity, together we have produced excellent proposals, and we welcome the budget provisions for these. They must be turned into action without delay.“

The group also called for more urgency in delivering plans to install more electric vehicle charging points, upgrading council properties and building new council homes.

The budget plans will go to cabinet on January 4 before consideration by the scrutiny committee on January 18 and a final decision by full council in February.

It comes after Suffolk County Council outlined its plans for a 4% council tax rise next year - equivalent to £55.53 extra for a Band D property. The rest of the district and borough councils as well as the police and crime commissioner are still to confirm their proposals for 2021.

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