Suffolk residents set for tax bonus

HOUSEHOLDERS in Suffolk have received a pre General Election boost to their incomes with a 4.4% increase in council tax support for the county council.

Graham Dines

HOUSEHOLDERS in Suffolk have received a pre General Election boost to their incomes with a 4.4% increase in council tax support for the county council.

This will keep next year's rise down to a minimum, although district authorities have received much smaller grants from Whitehall.

Despite Norfolk county council being handed a windfall; 5.3% increase in grant, Suffolk's 4.4% compares favourably with 3.3% for Essex and 2.2% for Cambridgeshire.


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Jane Storey, resources portfolio holder for the county council, said the increase had been what the government had promised, and the council's budget planning had taken this into account. However, it was less than the 4.9% for support in the current financial year and the 6.3% in 2007-08.

East of England minister Barbara Follett said that despite the pressures on the public purse, local authorities would receive �76.3bn in 2010-11, an average increase of 4% in their final year of the first ever three year settlement.

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“At a time when prices are falling nationwide this settlement for local government has made sure councils get a 4% increase in government grant next year. Over the 10 years from 1997, the government's local authority grant has increased above inflation every year - a real terms increase of 39% overall.

“As a result of the extra �8.6bn made available in this settlement, I expect to see the average council tax increase fall to a 16 year low next year while councils protect and improve front line services. Already many councils are predicting freezes or cuts so this can be done.

“Keeping council tax under control is a top priority for government which is why it will not hesitate to use its capping powers again to protect taxpayers from excessive increases,” said Mrs Follett.

“But we and the public also expect councils to play their part and find efficiency saving. Local government has an excellent record saving �1.7bn this year and next year I want to see them build on that.”

However, West Suffolk MP Richard Spring said the rise “makes up for the horrific underfunding of recent years which has made Suffolk one of the poorest resourced counties in England.”

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