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Residents in Suffolk face council tax rise

Council tax bills in Suffolk could rise by more than four per cent if authorities act on suggestions in the Government’s provisional finance settlement.

The Department of Communities and Local Government said councils can increase bills by up to three per cent in 2019/20 to help generate income.

Suffolk County Council can also increase its social care precept by one per cent and police and crime commissioners will be allowed an increase of up to £24.

Suffolk County Council's headquarters at Endeavour House, Ipswich. (6150542)
Suffolk County Council's headquarters at Endeavour House, Ipswich. (6150542)

The Government says councils in England are to share an extra £1.3 billion but pressures remain with Suffolk looking to save £11.2 million.

Suffolk County Council’s settlement funding assessment, which consists of the local share of business rates and its £16.3 million revenue support grant, is £117.3 million.

Richard Smith, cabinet member for finance, said the county will receive an extra £400,000 through the Rural Services Delivery Grant in 2019 and £1.6 million from the Government’s one-off distribution of the business rates levy account surplus.

He said they planned to spend more money in children’s services and adult services in 2019/20 and their finance team needs to work through the rest of the details to collate the authority’s final budget.

West Suffolk Council’s assessment is £4.6 million including a £200,000 revenue support grant.

Ian Houlder and Stephen Edwards, cabinet members for resources and performance at St Edmundsbury Borough and Forest Heath District, said it was ‘very much in line’ with their budget plans and the new council will allow for ‘a stronger voice to lobby’ and ‘encourage investment’.

Mid Suffolk’s is £2.2 million but it would not receive a revenue support grant.

John Whitehead, cabinet member for finance, said they have been preparing for the total reduction in its revenue support grant, which has required some ‘tough decisions’ but they are ‘still in a position to continue providing services residents need into 2019/20’. He said they continue to receive other funding including the new homes bonus and joined the rest of Suffolk in the pilot to allow authorities to retain more of business rates.

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