Plans to raise Forest Heath council tax backed by councillors

St Edmundsbury Borough Council is set to merge with Forest Heath. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

St Edmundsbury Borough Council is set to merge with Forest Heath. Picture: PHIL MORLEY - Credit: Archant

Plans to raise council tax in Forest Heath by nearly £5 per year for a Band D property have been backed by councillors.

Members of Forest Heath District Council looked at the proposals at a cabinet meeting on February 13.

The council says its proposed budget will help to continue to deliver current high quality services, invest in creating jobs and supporting communities while, unlike other authorities, avoiding reducing services.

The increase, if approved, will see the average household in Forest Heath paying around 7p extra a week (£3.85 total a year) next year or 9p a week (£4.95 a year) if they live in a Band D property.

Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury Borough Council have been given the support of the secretary of state to form a single council for west Suffolk in 2019.

The planned increase in council tax was in last year’s budget proposals and would have to be made whether the council formed a single council or not to meet the national reduced funding.

Stephen Edwards, portfolio holder for resources and performance, said: “Forest Heath is seen nationally as leading transformation of local government. “While many authorities are cutting services and increasing council tax by the maximum we have invested in schemes such as Toggam Solar Farm – which has provided an income of £300,000 this year and will rise to £700,000 by year ten.

Most Read

“Our proposed budget means we can continue to drive jobs, improve the economy and work closely with our communities to invest more in local initiatives with our residents.

“At the same time our forward planning means we have been able to keep our council tax to the lowest in Suffolk so that we can both meet the financial challenges without reducing services.

“No-one wants to put up council tax but the majority of Forest Heath residents will be paying around 7p a week extra or £3.85 a year.

“At the same time we will be able to build on our successes and invest in more opportunities that help to manage growth and continue to bring prosperity to Forest Heath.”

The budget proposals will now be looked at by full council on Wednesday, February 21.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter