Suffolk: Most councils are set for freeze on tax bills, but Babergh bucks the trend

ONLY one district in Suffolk is putting up its council tax bills next year – although every household will see its bills increase slightly, as the police authority has put up its precept.

The police authority is putting up its precept by 3.75%, which amounts to �6.03 for a Band D household – considered as “average” by authorities calculating council tax rates.

But the police authority element is just a small proportion of total council tax bills. It works out as and increase of 0.375% for households in Ipswich.

Babergh is the only district putting up its council tax bills – they are going up by 3.5%.

That means a Band D household in the district will have to pay �10.88 more, �4.85 to the district on top of the �6.03 to the police authority.

In rural districts like Babergh, parish or town councils can also increase their bills – and in Hadleigh the total council tax bill for a Band D property is set to go up from �1,528.77 to �1,540.57, an increase of 0.77%.

Jennie Jenkins, Chairman of Babergh’s Strategy Committee defended the rise, which will prevent short-term car-parking charges from being levied.

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She said: “This Babergh budget was supported by a majority of all four political groups and in it councillors have tried to strike a balance between finding savings and protecting services both for 2012/13 and the years after that.

“This is why we decided to increase our part of the council tax bill by 3.5% – equivalent to 9p a week extra for a Band D property.

“This was a difficult decision made by councillors after a number of proposals, including the introduction of short-stay car parking charges, were considered and rejected.” The largest element of bills is set by the county council, and that confirmed it was freezing rates when it met earlier this month.

The police authority increase is aimed at safeguarding services.

Authority chairman Joanna Spicer said: “It is important to understand that we were facing a stark choice.

“We all agreed the importance of maintaining the long-term resilience of the constabulary and its capability to provide a good quality policing service.”