St Edmundsbury councillors support proposals to freeze council tax in budget

West Suffolk House (Council Offices) in Bury.

West Suffolk House (Council Offices) in Bury. - Credit: Archant

Budget proposals to freeze council tax in St Edmundsbury were supported by councillors at a meeting yesterday.

Members of St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s cabinet agreed to the budget plans, which will now be heard by the full council on February 20.

The council says that, despite reduced government funding, the proposals will protect services, continue the authority’s investment in local communities and aim to grow the economy.

The budget also supports the transition of the merger with Forest Heath District Council next year to create the singular West Suffolk Council.

The council says it has already saved more than £4million annually by sharing services with Forest Heath, which has transformed the way it serves residents.

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The funding councils receive through the government’s revenue support grant is due to reach zero by 2020 and authorities will need to raise local income to replace this through local fees and charges, business rates growth or council tax.

Currently, council tax makes up around one fifth of the budget.

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The cabinet also recommended a strategy to invest in and manage growth across west Suffolk to bring wide benefits for residents and businesses.

Councillor Ian Houlder, cabinet member for resources and performance, said: “Our councils in west Suffolk are seen as the leading the way in transforming local government.

“Many councils in light of the changes to government funding have been cutting while we have invested to create local job opportunities, support the economy and bring wider benefits to our communities.

“This budget continues that so that we have an income to support and protect services while finding even more ways to boost the local economy.

“At the same time we plan to freeze council tax and carry on working in our communities with residents on initiatives such as social prescribing to bring real health benefits.

“However, our challenges continue with increased demands on services such as housing and we will continue to work to meet those needs.

“In addition proposals for the new single council will also bring greater benefits building on the good financial position we have created.”

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