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Fears of 4pc rise in council tax

PUBLISHED: 15:45 28 November 2008 | UPDATED: 21:55 05 July 2010

Cash-strapped households in Suffolk could have to fork out an extra £60 a year in council tax as county bosses bid to balance the books, it was claimed last night.

Cash-strapped households in Suffolk could have to fork out an extra £60 a year in council tax as county bosses bid to balance the books, it was claimed last night.

Suffolk County Council says it will continue to face financial pressures, after being told yesterday that it will receive £162m - a rise of 4.9pc - in funding from the government for 2009/10. It also has the extra pressure of helping people and businesses through the recession.

Leaders pledged to keep council tax increases “as low as possible” but opposition councillors said they feared rises of up to 4pc.

Householders living in Band D properties in Suffolk currently pay about £1,400 a year in council tax - of which about £1,000 goes to the county council - and a 4pc overall increase would put bills up by about £56.

Jane Storey, councillor responsible for resource management and transformation, said that Suffolk remained committed to keeping any increase low.

She said: “I would hope it will be less than the 3.75pc increase we had last year. It is difficult trying to weigh up the balance of giving as many services as you can with keeping council tax increases low.”

She added: “The settlement is in line with what we expected. However it still means we face some challenging decisions on how we use our budget.

“Our priorities continue to be the most vulnerable in the community - older people and looked after children.”

She added that a public consultation would start shortly, saying: “As in previous years, we will seek people's views and be ready to make adjustments to the proposals if we receive persuasive ideas and alternatives.”

But Kevan Lim, deputy leader of the Labour group, said he feared the council tax rise could be as high as 4pc which he said was “far too much”.

“We have no confidence the Conservative administration is managing the county's affairs properly,” he said.

“Even though they accept they have had another favourable settlement from government, at a time of economic pressure for everyone they continue to massively increase the council budget.”

The level of council tax will be set on February 19.

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