Council freezes its tax precept

The district council’s tax precept will be frozen for the third year in a row, however those on low incomes will be asked to contribute more.

Forest Heath District Council has announced its precept will not rise despite a six per cent reduction in Government funding, meaning it will remain the lowest district precept in Suffolk.

Stephen Edwards, Forest Heath District Council’s portfolio holder for resources, governance and performance, said this was possible, due to savings made by sharing services with St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

The Government has also reduced the amount it spends subsidising Council Tax Benefits by 10 per cent.

The £55,000 shortfall this will create will be passed on to working-age claimants and empty and second home owners.

National changes to the collection of business rates will see the amount received by the council reflect the amount collected in the district, which is expected to raise a further £42,000.

To increase revenues further, council leader James Waters announced that £1.1 million raised through the New Homes Bonus had been earmarked for economic development initiatives.

Cllr Waters said the council expected its budget to be cut further next year and that ‘attracting new businesses to the area will be vital to make up the difference’.

Anyone whose Council Tax bill will be effected will be contacted by Forest Heath District Council.