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Council tax rise should be ‘last resort’ - warns leader of Conservative group at Norfolk County Council

PUBLISHED: 12:26 31 August 2014 | UPDATED: 12:26 31 August 2014

Tom Fitzpatrick,  leader of the Conservative group at Norfolk County Council.

Tom Fitzpatrick, leader of the Conservative group at Norfolk County Council.

Archant © 2014

The leader of the main opposition group at Norfolk County Council has warned that it is “very premature” for councillors to consider a council tax rise next year.

The prospect of a tax rise has been mooted by officials at County Hall as a way of plugging a £17.5m funding gap in 2015/16.

However, Tom Fitzpatrick, leader of the Conservative group, said rising the county council’s part of the precept should be the “last resort.”

He added that there would be more workshops as part of the council’s policy and resources committee over the coming weeks to find ways to meet the budget shortfall.

“We should be looking at all the options including generating income and making best use of our property and disposing of surplus property rather than looking at council tax. Most of the groups at the county council were elected on keeping it frozen,” he said.

Peter Timmins, interim director of finance at the county council, has suggested councillors should consider the increase in next February’s budget because of the pressures the authority is under.

George Nobbs, the Labour leader of the council said that members should not reject a council tax rise out of hand and urged them to keep an open mind.

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