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Council tax bills in Suffolk set for £65 increase after budget proposals approved amid rising financial pressures

Suffolk County Council's headquarters at Endeavour House, Ipswich (6886394)
Suffolk County Council's headquarters at Endeavour House, Ipswich (6886394)

Homes across Suffolk are set to see their council tax bills rise by around £65 from April, after county council budget proposals were approved.

Suffolk County Council’s cabinet signed off on its budget proposals on Tuesday, which featured an increase in council tax of 2.99 per cent, plus a further one per cent increase on its social care precept.

Coupled with the anticipated three per cent rise for district councils and a 12.7 per cent hike from police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore, an overall rise of 4.7 per cent will be passed on to taxpayers from April.

It means that for band B properties – the most common in the county – a yearly bill will rise by up to £65, from £1,387 to £1,452.

The proposals will go before the county’s full council meeting on February 14 for final approval, before coming into force in April.

Richard Smith, Suffolk’s cabinet member for finance and assets, said the increase was “in line with government expectations”.

But the rise comes amid significant cost pressures, with the budget featuring £10 million in savings.

Among the savings are ceasing accreditation for the Duke of Edinburgh Award, £3 million in savings across staffing and a reduction in housing-related support for people in their own tenancies.

Mr Smith added: “I believe our proposals are sound, responsible and fair, and as responsive to need as they can be, at a time when money continues to be tight.”

He also vowed to make sure that the council did not deplete its £50 million reserves and end up with the same problems as other county councils.

Jack Owen, Labour councillor for Sudbury and opposition highways spokesman, said: “I think this budget is going to be more damaging across the board for rural areas. I am very concerned, because most of our people are in rural areas.”

Despite the cuts, the budget features an overall increase of more than £15 million on last year’s sum, with more funding for children’s and adult community services.

The budget also included plans to force staff into one day of leave unpaid for two years, but was scrapped after pressure from Unison.

Sarah Adams, Labour group leader, said: “The residents of Suffolk are being forced to pay more for the mistakes of the Conservative Party, both locally and nationally.

“Yet, while people see their taxes go up, they are getting less in return.

“This year, we will see vital CAB services cut, transport spending reduced and public safety compromised.

“Today exposed a truth that, not only is there zero substance behind their ideology, they have lost the will to even defend it.

“There were insincere attempts to offer reassurance, but basic facts were conspicuous by their absence,” she added.