Waveney agrees 3pc rise in council tax as budget is approved

Waveney District Council's headquarters at Riverside, Lowestoft. Picture: Archant library.

Waveney District Council's headquarters at Riverside, Lowestoft. Picture: Archant library. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

Waveney District Council has voted to increase its share of the council tax bill by just over 3pc.

The rise equates to an extra £4.86 a year for a band D property and was agreed by councillors on Wednesday, February 21, as part of a vote on the council's budget for the 2018/2019 financial year.

The meeting saw 29 councillors voting to approve the budget with 14 against.

The 3.09pc rise comes on top of the increases already agreed by Suffolk County Council and the county's police and crime panel.

Conservative councillor Norman Brooks said: 'For the services that we provide within this authority, I think that is absolutely terrific value.

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'It works out to a cup of coffee a week, and we are all quite happy to go and sit in Costa and pay £3 for a cup of coffee.

'There haven't been service cuts, there haven't been massive reductions in staff and I think we have worked miracles here.'

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However members of the Waveney Labour Group said they were unable to accept the budget, despite not being able to offer an alternative, due to the fact that the cost of liabilities transferred to Lowestoft Town Council and Oulton Broad Parish Council last year had not been taken into account.

Labour councillor Louise Gooch said: 'We do have to acknowledge that assets were compulsory transferred and the necessary precepts that are now being raised by the other authorities mean that some of our poorest residents are facing terrific rises in their council tax.

'So while we do acknowledge that there is terrific work that is going on in this authority there are concerns about the ramifications for council tax.'

The meeting heard that thanks to an ongoing programme of savings and efficiencies to bridge a forecasted £1.3m gap, the council was able to present a balanced budget for 2018/19. The approved budget will see a net figure of £10.6m spent on essential local services in the district between April 2018 and March 2019.

Council leader Mark Bee described it as a 'historic budget' as the last one set before the council merges with Suffolk Coastal to form the new East Suffolk District Council.

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