Council tax bills to rise by just under 3 per cent in the Babergh area

Council tax payers in the Babergh area will have to pay an increase in their bills for the coming year.

It comes after the district council agreed its budget for 2024/25 rising the tax by 2.99 per cent.

This means Babergh’s bill for a Band D home will rise from £182.64 to £188.10 a year – an increase of 10p a week. Babergh keeps only 9 per cent of the bill, with the rest going to Suffolk County Council, the Police and Crime Commissioner and town and parish councils.

But it has also outlined its determination to create a “more resilient and sustainable future” for the district, despite severe financial pressures following its meeting on Tuesday (February 20).

Latest figures show the cost of providing district council services to residents and communities will rise by £1.6 million to £14.1m in the next year – a 12.8 per cent increase.

This is mainly due to inflationary pressures, particularly interest rates, energy and salary costs, while there has also been a reduction in planning fees as potential development continues to slow due to the economic downturn. Government funding for the council has increased by around 3.4 per cent.

Babergh’s acting leader and cabinet member for finance, assets and investments, John Ward, said: “Babergh continues to deliver excellent value for money, providing vital services that people rely on. However, the severity of our financial position cannot be underestimated.

“Babergh closed its budget gap this year with the use of earmarked reserves, but we have to save £6.7m over the next four years. We have only £2.4m of useable reserves available. Without action, this council is heading towards a financial cliff edge – we have to be responsible and make tough choices.”

The council has increased fees and charges to reflect the actual cost of providing licences and services, and asavings programme is also expected to achieve savings of £540k.

Deborah Saw, deputy council leader, added: “We have made clear that we believe the current system of funding local government is broken and call on the government to review this so we can continue delivering the services which our communities value and need.

“However, these financial pressures do not quash our ambition for the district – we just have to be more innovative and develop new approaches, working with communities to meet their aspirations.”

Meanwhile, it was agreed council tenants would see a 7.7% increase in rents. This will ensure the necessary investment in repairs and maintenance across the council’s social housing stock.

The increase means the average weekly social rent increases by £7.92 from £102.88 to £110.81. For affordable housing, weekly rents would increase by £11.13 from £144.51 to £155.63.

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