Savings of £6.7million needed if Suffolk Coastal tax is not to face future rises

Suffolk Coastal District Council

Suffolk Coastal District Council - Credit: Archant

Community leaders are faced with finding £6.8million worth of savings in the next three years if they want to carry on pegging the council tax.

The warning to Suffolk Coastal councillors comes as the authority prepares on Thursday to set a tax rate which will mean no increase in bills for the fourth year running.

To achieve this, £944,000 has already been pruned from this year’s budget – and Robert Whiting, cabinet member for resources, says there is tough work ahead to avoid future increases.

Based on the latest information, the district council – which covers Felixstowe, Woodbridge, Martlesham, Saxmundham, Aldeburgh, Leiston and Framlingham – will have to save a further £1.384m next year, £2.544m in 2017-18, and £2.853m in 2018-19.

While every department and service will again be asked to look at savings and different ways of working to cut costs, the council is struggling to see where further savings might be found. Whichever party wins the General Election, grant aid is expected to be further reduced, and there is a limit to which fees for council services can be increased.

Mr Whiting said: “The council has already delivered savings/additional income of about £8m from 2011-12 to 2014-15, so new savings are becoming increasingly difficult to identify and deliver.”

Senior officers have looked at a range of ways to raise extra money and sources of income open to the council – such as the New Homes Bonus – though some of these may not be permanent.

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He said: “The conclusion reached is that the council needs a renewed focus on the current model, which is largely developed around cost reductions, efficiencies and redesigning services while also pursuing new forms of service delivery based around a more entrepreneurial-commercial model.”

The district council part of the tax for a Band D property will be £149.40. On top of this, households also pay county, police and town or parish demands. Last year the total tax was £1,442.70.

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