St Edmundsbury Borough Council plans first council tax hike in six years

West Suffolk House ENGANL00120130105142248
West Suffolk House ENGANL00120130105142248
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St Edmundsbury Borough Council is considering its first council tax rise in six years.

Residents could be asked to spend an extra £3.49 a year - under 7p a week - for borough services from April 2016 to March 2017 following cuts in Government funding.

Cllr John Griffiths, leader of the council, said: “Thanks primarily to long term strategic thinking, cutting costs, doing things differently and sheer hard work with others, I’m proud that St Edmundsbury has been able to freeze its council tax for six of the last seven years while maintaining, and often improving, our services.

“However, our traditionally largest source of Government funding, the Revenue Support Grant, has been reduced year-on-year and is now being phased out completely. The Government has also made it plain that local services will need to be funded by local people and businesses.”

The borough council receives just under 12 per cent of a household’s total council tax bill for a Band D house (£175) with the rest split between Suffolk County Council (76.5 per cent - £1,127) and Suffolk Police (11.5 per cent - £170).

Cllr Ian Houlder, cabinet member for resources, said: “We receive a small portion of council tax and have managed to make that stretch to cover our services for a good number of years.

“Now we need local people to give a little extra support for their local services if we are to protect them. Alongside that we will continue to invest in projects which save taxpayers’ money over time, continue to reduce costs further and make efficiencies wherever possible, and also consider which services are appropriate for charging only the users instead of every taxpayer.”

In the 2016/17 financial year about half of the borough’s income will be from fees, charges and business rates with less than a quarter (21 per cent coming from council tax).

Approximately four per cent will be from the main government grant - in the last two years this grant has halved and will be cut to zero in the next three financial years.

St Edmundsbury’s cabinet will consider the proposal on Tuesday, February 9 with a meeting of the full council on February 23 making the final decision.