Mid Suffolk District council takes ‘tough decision’ to raise precept

Mark Westley Photography'Mid Suffolk District Council building in Needham Market. ANL-140710-194634009
Mark Westley Photography'Mid Suffolk District Council building in Needham Market. ANL-140710-194634009
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Two amendments were fought off as Mid Suffolk District Council approved its new budget - raising its council tax precept by 1.9 percent.

Residents will pay an extra £2.97 a year for band D properties with bands A, B and C a smaller rise at £2.64 or less a year.

Leader of the council Derrick Haley said: “The rise in council tax is a tough decision to take, and one we didn’t take lightly. In fact, we have been making sure we are financially sustainable by increasing our council tax income where necessary over the last few years.

“This prudence, along with our wise investments, means we are in a relatively good position and are able to keep our increase below the £5 maximum that we were allowed to do.”

“We have all had to accept that, with decreased core funding from central government, if we want to maintain our essential services, we needed to do this,” he added.

It ensures we are in a better position to face the future financial challenges.”

An amendment to the budget from the Green Party asked for the council to spend some of the millions saved up in its ‘transformation reserve’.

Councillor Andrew Stringer said: “Despite all the talk of the need for austerity, over the past few years the council has been accumulating a pot of money that is now larger than its share of council tax for an entire year.

“We believe the council should present some specific plans for how this money should be spent, or else give residents a break with their council tax contributions.”

The party also called for a dedicated specialist to be employed in the housing department to speed up the pace of homes being built where permission had been granted and to create a business hub to assist start-up companies.

They also asked for the council to develop a new shared HQ with Babergh District council, selling off the current site for housing and small businesses.

After this was voted down, the Lib Dems argued the budget should include a one-off grant of £80,000 be paid from the transformation fund to support community transport and that the charged for brown bins and taking bulky waste away should be reversed.

However, this was also voted down and the budget approved.