SUFFOLK County Council will freeze its share of council tax for a third consecutive year in April, the authority’s leader has announced today (Monday).

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The tax freeze will be a welcome boost for householders but the county council is still having to make challenging cuts of £50million over two years.

Following an announcement by the Government that it will extend the grant it gives to local authorities to help keep council tax down, council leader Mark Bee said it was the authority’s “moral and professional duty” to do everything possible to maintain public services without raising taxes.

He said: “The financial climate we’re in means people throughout Suffolk are wrestling with their household budgets to make ends meet. It’s therefore our moral and professional duty to do everything we can to keep delivering quality public services without asking people for more money, however hard that is to achieve.

“I’m delighted that this additional support from the Government means that we can freeze council tax for a third year and help the hard working people of Suffolk during these difficult financial times.

“Freezing council tax is not without its consequences. With increasing costs and demand for services, we’re going to have to work even harder to ensure the front line services that people rely on do not suffer. Today I’m making a commitment that we’ll do everything we can to protect those services.

“We must also make sure that we continue to deliver on our key priorities, including raising school attainment, creating economic growth, protecting vulnerable people and ensuring everyone in Suffolk has access to broadband.

“I’m not saying this is going to be easy but I’m confident that the council’s political direction and dedicated staff will ensure the right decisions are made for Suffolk.”

Mr Bee said the council had already – after six months – saved £27m from its £50m two-year target.

He said he would be “stamping out” back-office costs which would help to prevent cuts to front-line services.

Mr Bee added these savings would give the council the option of preventing council tax rises in the future.

The county council is currently working on its budget for 2013/14 which is expected to be agreed in February.

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