Taxpayers to pay £46 extra if first increase in decade is approved by Suffolk County Council

Suffolk County Council's Endeavour House headquarters. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN.

Suffolk County Council's Endeavour House headquarters. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN. - Credit: Archant

Households across Suffolk could face a rise of at least five per cent in their tax bills next year after the county council announced its budget plans.

The authority is set to put up basic council tax by the maximum allowed by government without triggering a local referendum – 1.99pc – while also increasing its social care precept by 3pc to allow it to pay more for people needing residential care.

It will mean occupants of a Band B home will be paying an extra £46 to the county council.

But on top of this householders could also face increases from borough, district and parish councils and the police.

County cabinet member for finance Richard Smith said the increases were necessary because the level of government support to councils was continuing to fall.

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Even though the tax would rise, there would still be service cuts of £24million.

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Concern for services

The proposed new county council budget sparked concerns that services could face more cuts over the next 12 months.

Labour group leader Sandra Gage was concerned about the possibility of service cuts, especially to adult care.

She said: 'An £11m cut to adult care services will decimate this council's ability to deliver high quality effective care provision. This cut will only lead to a worse service, poorer care and an increased likelihood that the most vulnerable in society will fall through the safety net that this council should provide.

'The cuts to subsidised transport, whilst they may be small, will have an enormous impact above and beyond the £150k that the council will save. It is disgusting that the Conservative administration can think that by removing £11m from the care system and decreasing opportunities for the elderly to get out and about they are providing anything other than public services on the cheap.'

Cuts to adult care and transport on the cards

As well as the proposed cuts to the adult care services budget, other areas of the county council are also likely to be hit if the budget is passed.

The county's highways service is set to lose £1m – about £300,000 will come from reductions to the winter gritting service.

This would mean than the temperature that will trigger the fleet of gritters going out at night will fall by half a degree celsius – and some of the smallest routes currently served would no longer be included on the gritting runs.

The council is also looking to make a further £150,000 reduction in subsidies to rural buses. This follows cuts to services on the Shotley peninsula and proposed changes in the Eye area which were eventually reversed after an outcry in some villages that would have lost their services.

The fire service is not facing further changes but is expected to save £50,000 through its shared facilities with the police.

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