Lowest council tax rise on the cards
SUFFOLK councillors look set to impose the county's lowest council tax increase after agreeing to support a provisional budget.Members of the county council's executive committee yesterday decided to go ahead with plans to introduce a 3.
SUFFOLK councillors look set to impose the county's lowest council tax increase after agreeing to support a provisional budget.
Members of the county council's executive committee yesterday decided to go ahead with plans to introduce a 3.9% increase, which would add about 52p a week to the council tax on a Band B property in Suffolk.
The final figure depends on the county's final settlement from the Government, which was due to be announced during yesterday's meeting, and compares to last year's 18.5% rise.
A delay in the confirmation of the settlement meant councillors agreed to support the proposed increase, but the final figures will be adjusted if the government's funding allocation is different from expected.
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The total council tax increase will also depend on the increases imposed by the district council and the police authority.
Speaking at the meeting, deputy council leader David Rowe said: "We have this year made considerable savings on the council's budget. I think that there's been an excellent effort made by made people to look at where savings can be made.
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"We are still one of the lowest councils in the country and this is the lowest this council has ever set in terms of council tax."
Council leader Bryony Rudkin said the council had been lobbied by members of the public and had taken their views very seriously when setting the council tax increases.
But Ray Nowak warned that maintaining services was expensive.
"I think it's a good achievement to have got to this level.
"We must not in anyway mislead people that it's going to be all things for free. It's our job as councillors to scrutinise, to check, and to challenge figures we are presented with.
"We cannot get away from it. The services that we want to deliver are quite expensive services and quite high in the stake levels because they are providing one to one services in many cases."
The proposed settlement from the Government is about £24.6million, which includes a £3.5million grant to help hold council tax down. This represents a 6.6% increase compared to last year.
The government settlement will be available by the time the council tax is debated by the full council at the end of next month.