Thetford taxpayers face precept rise as town council takes on more from county and district

New Mayor of Thetford, Robert Kybird.

New Mayor of Thetford, Robert Kybird. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

A town council has insisted it must raise its precept to pay for an increase of services taken on from other authorities.

Thetford Town Council will raise its precept for 2016/17 by 6.75pc after a decision was made at a full council meeting on Tuesday night.

A statement from the council said that the increase was decided to be manageable, and made in view of a four-year budget plan.

It added: 'The council agreed a budget for 2016/17 of £679,888, which represents an increase in precept of 6.75pc and equals a raise in band D council tax of 2.67pc, equivalent to 5.5p a week.'

The rise was the subject of close scrutiny by councillors, with arguments made for both sides.

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Mayor Robert Kybird said he felt the rise was reasonable.

'It's the first time we have planned for four years forward in this way, and I think this is the right thing to do in the interests of a balanced budget. It's a 5p a week increase on a band D property, and 80 pc lower of homes in Thetford are lower than that so it's not a great deal of money,' he said.

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Denis Crawford, leader of the UKIP group at town council, said he had initially been in favour of freezing the precept, but the debate had convinced him otherwise.

'I felt it was a manageable amount of money we are asking for from the people of Thetford. The town council is taking on a lot of new responsibilities from county and district, such as the play areas, and we need to be able to pay for them,' he said.

Terry Jermy, leader of the Labour group, was against the rise as he felt it was an extra burden on residents. He also highlighted a loss in funding to the town council of £85,000 a year from Breckland Council.

He said: 'Our precept already takes into account this loss of money from Breckland and by investing some of our generous reserves now, we would be able to freeze council tax this year.

'While the increase in financial terms may only be small, we have a responsibility to only increase council tax if we absolutely have to and I do not believe we are in that position.'

Do you think the council is right to raise its precept? Email

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