Council Tax set to rise by up to 97p a month for Band D properties

West Suffolk Council is set to recommend a rise of up to 97p a month in Council Tax when councillors meet next week.

That’s the figure set for people living in the former Forest Heath area for a typical band D property but for those in the former St Edmundsbury district it will be 14p.

The charges will be added to the tax figure from Suffolk County Council and Bury St Edmunds Town Council for people living in the West Suffolk area.

The current proposals will be for a West Suffolk rise of £4.97 a year across the district and the differences between the two areas is due to the harmonisation of both and the proposal is that the different levels would be brought together by April 2022.

While the figures are for a typical band D around 70% of all homes are band C or below in West Suffolk meaning the rise would be less.

West Suffolk Council Cabinet will look at proposals for the authority’s 2020/21 medium term budgets at its meeting on February 11.

The recommendations focus on making sure the Council continues into the future to deliver its strategic priorities including essential services, the right environment for job and economic growth, support the wellbeing of residents, tackle climate change and support rural areas as well as housing issues.

Environmental measures are at the heart of the budget following the Council’s declaration of a climate change emergency.

It has investments in renewable energy, such as the purchase and operation of Toggam Solar Farm, new bio-mass boilers for West Stow and Nowton Park, and installation of solar panels on council buildings.

The council collect around 80,000 bins and is looking to update its fleet with the introduction of new electric vehicles for some of its operations to reduce the impact on the environment.

Leader of West Suffolk Council, John Griffiths, said: “Our authorities have an ambitious vision and a common-sense financial plan to make sure that not only we continue to invest in the prosperity of our businesses and communities but can deliver the high quality services our residents rightly demand.

“The decision to create a single council has helped secure the millions we have saved working together and put us on a strong footing. We want to continue to invest in new leisure facilities, supporting our high streets and rural areas, deliver services and create income that not only benefits West Suffolk but supports our communities financially as well.

“Equally we recognise there is a climate change emergency and need to think differently so reduce our impact on the environment. Council Tax only covers around a fifth of the budget needed to run those services and to make sure we are future proofed against the reduction in Government funding nationally for councils. Traditionally we have kept Council Tax frozen or low, below inflation and our part only makes up a small amount of the overall Council Tax bill.”

Sarah Broughton, Portfolio Holder for Resources and Performance, said: “No one wants to increase taxes but with the stopping of revenue grant and new homes bonus from Government councils are expected by parliament to meet this gap with Council Tax. That said the proposal is a rise of between 14p or 97p a month for a band D property depending where you live. This rise means that services can continue into the future without some of the harsher measures seen elsewhere in the country.”

Any recommendations made by the Cabinet on the budget will then be sent to Full Council to consider.

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