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Suffolk County Council's budget shows rise in council tax and funding for Citizens Advice Bureaux

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Homes in Suffolk will be hit with another four per cent council tax rise next year it has been revealed, as finance chiefs attempt to balance the books.

The first draft of Suffolk County Council’s budget was published on Monday, which revealed a 1.99 per cent increase on the county council’s share of the council tax.

On top of that, a two per cent increase will be from the social care precept element of the council tax, making an overall increase of 3.99 per cent from the county council. It means from the county’s portion of council tax alone, a band B property will pay £40 more per year.

Mid Suffolk District Council, Endeavour House (24470656)
Mid Suffolk District Council, Endeavour House (24470656)

Gordon Jones, cabinet member for finance, said the final settlement from the government was expected to be better than previous years, and anticipated a council budget up by £31.5million on last year as a result of that and the council tax rise.

“We took a conservative view that it is better to have a consistent approach rather than an up-and-down approach,” he said. “There are still concerns that there are very much demand pressures in children’s and young people’s services, the demand in special educational needs, and the council tax rise reflects that.”

Despite the tax increase, the better settlement means that the authority does not need to make significant cutbacks as it has in previous years.

Cllr Gordon Jones, cabinet member for children’s services,education and skills. (24470556)
Cllr Gordon Jones, cabinet member for children’s services,education and skills. (24470556)

Citizens Advice Bureaux across Suffolk will have county council grant funding again from next year, after finance chiefs performed a u-turn on cuts.

The cash-strapped council last year announced it would be axing the £368,000 subsidy it provided to CABs in Suffolk as part of a series of cuts to services.

That change was then phased over two years in light of furious biteback from the CABs, members of the public and opposition parties, and resulted in a zero-hour deal with the clinical commissioning groups to provide one year of grant funding.

Now, Mr Jones has confirmed in the first draft of the council’s budget for next year that it would be restoring a CAB grant of £360,000 over three years – £120,000 a year.

The funding is understood to be given on the basis that the CABs become financially independent by the end of those three years.