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Politics aside at East Suffolk Council as budget approved unanimously





A district’s approved budget represents the first steps towards a fairer society, a councillor has said.

East Suffolk councillors met last night to discuss and agree on budget proposals for the next financial year, the first since the new coalition administration took hold of the council last year.

The agreed budget included a 2.98 per cent council tax increase, just shy of the maximum allowed, representing £5.40 extra for Band D residents — this was on top of the £74.61 increase approved by the county council last week.

It was politics aside at East Suffolk Council's full council meeting as its budget was approved unanimously. Picture: ESC
It was politics aside at East Suffolk Council's full council meeting as its budget was approved unanimously. Picture: ESC

The district council’s four-year plan also included a £46m package for services such as planning, coastal management, environmental services, leisure, waste collection, and parking.

Cllr Vince Langdon-Morris, who was responsible for the budget, said: “It represents the first steps of a GLI coalition administration towards making a healthier, fairer society in East Suffolk.”

To fund its financial gap, the council decided to use £1.85m of money saved up throughout the year as well as earmarked money for specific uses.

Although the council’s reserves balance is much healthier than others in the county, at £39.3m, its predictions have identified a funding gap of £5.4m next year rising to £8.38m in 2027/28, depleting the council’s reserves to a predicted £30.4m in that same year.

Also approved last night were increases in social and affordable rents, of £6.92 and £8.23 per week respectively.

Unlike other budget discussions across the county, however, where political parties came to the fore, East Suffolk councillors decided to unanimously agree to proposals.

Cllr Craig Rivett, leader of the opposing Conservative group said: “East Suffolk is not alone, nor immune from the current global economic conditions — opposition for opposition’s sake is as unsavoury as it is unprincipled.”