Suffolk confirms it is looking for extra 3pc on council tax bills

Suffolk County Council headquarters. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk County Council headquarters. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Suffolk County Council is set to put up its element of council tax bills by fractionally under five per cent.

Next week's meeting of the council's cabinet will be asked to approve the increase that will then go through to a meeting of the full council in February where it is not expected to be approved by the large Conservative majority at the council.

That would put the county council element of council tax bills up to £966.42 a year for occupant of an average Band B house in Suffolk (the largest single council tax band) – a rise of £46 a year.

District/borough, parish, and Police and Crime Commissioner elements also have to be added to the council tax bills before they drop through people's letterboxes.

Suffolk revealed in November that it was planning to increase its element of council tax by the maximum then allowed by the government, 1.99pc, and by a further 3pc as the 'social care precept' bringing the total up to nearly 5pc.

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Last month the government announced it would allow authorities to increase their basic council tax by 2.99pc – but Suffolk's cabinet member for finance Richard Smith said the county had decided to stick with its original plans.

He said: 'We prepared our budget and we are planning to stay with that. We shall be putting our plans to the cabinet next Tuesday and the full council on February 8.'

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The council aims to cut £23.9m from its budget and to take about £3m from its general reserves to cover the loss of some of its government grant.

The budget came under fire from opposition parties.

Labour group leader Sarah Adams said: 'Care services in Suffolk are already stretched. The staff who work with and for the council in delivering these services under incredible pressure.

'These cuts are a false saving, they will increase uncertainty and worry for all involved and only lead to pushing higher costs further down the line.'

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group highlighted £20,000 of cuts to Citizens Advice Bureaux in the county.

Green councillor Andrew Stringer said: 'Suffolk County Council is supposed to protect our vulnerable residents, but cutting funding to CAB is doing the exact opposite.'

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