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How much your council tax will rise by from April 2019

PUBLISHED: 21:30 29 January 2019 | UPDATED: 09:15 30 January 2019

Suffolk County Council's cabinet approved the budget proposals for 2019/20. Picture: ARCHANT

Suffolk County Council's cabinet approved the budget proposals for 2019/20. Picture: ARCHANT

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

Richard Smith, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for finance and assets said the budget was Richard Smith, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for finance and assets said the budget was "fair". Picture: SIMON LEE PHOTOGRAPHY/SCC

Suffolk County Council’s cabinet signed off on its budget proposals earlier this afternoon, which featured an increase in council tax of 2.99%, plus a further 1% increase on social care precept.

Coupled with the anticipated 3% rise for district and borough councils and the 12.7% hike from police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore, an overall rise of 4.7% will be passed on to taxpayers from April.

It means that for Band B properties – the most common in the county – the 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.

Labour transport spokesman Jack Owen said the budget would affect rural communities the most. Picture: SUFFOLK LABOUR GROUPLabour transport spokesman Jack Owen said the budget would affect rural communities the most. Picture: SUFFOLK LABOUR GROUP

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

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

Among the savings agreed are ceasing accreditation for the Duke of Edinburgh Award, £3m in savings across staffing, reviews of contracts with district and borough councils for grass cutting services 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 where money continues to be tight.”

He also vowed to make sure that the council did not deplete its £50m reserves and end up with the same problems as Northamptonshire County Council.

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, and I am very concerned about that because most of our people are in rural areas.”

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

The original budget had also included plans to force staff into one day of leave unpaid each year for two years, but was scrapped following pressure from UNISON.

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

“Yet, whilst people see their taxes go up year on year, they are getting less and less in return.

“This year we will see vital CAB services cut, transport spending being 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 and evidence were conspicuous by their absence.”

READ MORE: Questions raised over council assessment of Citizens Advice cuts

Highways cuts

Cutbacks to highways and transport services was also the subject of fresh criticism during Tuesday’s cabinet meeting.

Proposals to have been agreed included ceasing roadside bus timetables, reducing subsidies to bus services, reductions in out of hours and winter gritting runs, maintaining only mandatory road signs and markings, and a reduced spend on street lighting.

Cabinet member for highways, Mary Evans, said that gritting runs would be made more efficient to make sure roads that priority roads were gritted.

She added: “Street lighting where it’s not functioning will be removed, not replaced, and that’s only where it is appropriate.

“Mandatory signs will continue to be cleaned on a reactive basis and we will only be actively refreshing road lines when it is being resurfaced.

“I recognise that for many Suffolk residents they rely on public transport, but the current level of funding isn’t necessarily the most efficient.”

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