County’s share of council tax to increase by nearly five per cent

Suffolk County Council's headquarters at Endeavour House, Ipswich
Suffolk County Council's headquarters at Endeavour House, Ipswich
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Suffolk County Council plans to increase its share of council tax by nearly five per cent and cut £23.9 million from its budget.

As part of the authority’s budget proposals for 2018/19, it is looking to increase the basic rate of council tax by 1.99 per cent following a seven year freeze,

It also plans to put up the adult social care precept of council tax by three per cent.

As Government austerity continues, the council estimates that it needs to fill a £26.9 million budget gap with £23.9 million in budget cuts and £3 million from its contingency reserve.

The council forecasts it will have £45.9 million in unallocated reserves by March 2018.

Adult and Community Services will take the biggest hit with £12 million in cuts.

The authority says this will be achieved by ‘working with care providers to look at how best to manage future pricing structures and working with partners to reduce demand’.

The plans will be discussed at the council’s scrutiny committee meeting on Thursday, November 23 as part of its annual budget setting process.

Cllr Richard Smith, cabinet member for finance and transformation, said: “This is the first step of our budget setting process and I believe we are putting forward proposals that offer the best approach possible, given the clear and present challenges we face.

“Over the last seven years we have fully honoured the council tax freeze but as we continue to face significant financial pressures, we have taken the prudent decision to propose a rise in basic council tax as we seek to address the expected budget gap in the next financial year.

“This is the first rise in basic council tax from Suffolk County Council since 2011.

“As part of our budget plans, it is expected that we will use around £3 million from our reserves.

“We are also making use of the Government’s Adult Social Care Precept to support some of the most vulnerable people in our communities as Suffolk’s population continues grow older.

“We will continue to look for new ways to make even better use of the resources we have available to ensure we continue delivering frontline services.

“There are still tough challenges ahead, but I believe we have the focus and capability to deliver services successfully across Suffolk.”