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Forest Heath to increase council tax while East Cambridgeshire freezes rate for fifth year




West Suffolk House Bury St Edmunds''Council leaders James Waters Forest Heath District Council grey suit and John Griffiths St Edmundsbury Borough Council blue suit. Plans to merge councils press conference.'Picture Mark Westley
West Suffolk House Bury St Edmunds''Council leaders James Waters Forest Heath District Council grey suit and John Griffiths St Edmundsbury Borough Council blue suit. Plans to merge councils press conference.'Picture Mark Westley

Council Tax rates across Forest Heath are set to increase for the second year as the authority battles to ‘protect services’ against government cuts.

When approved, it would take the council’s share of the tax for the average home to £147.33 a year.

We can all agree that this is a good news story. We do more than keep the lights on.
Cllr James Waters

Forest Heath’s cabinet rubber stamped the proposal on Tuesday.

Cllr Stephen Edwards, portfolio holder for Resources and Performance, said it was about ‘protecting services and delivering projects’.

He said the tax hike would have happened regardless of the creation of a West Suffolk Council, in which Forest Heath will increase its rates to align with St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

“We are in a very happy position to set a three year balanced budget,” said Cllr Edwards.

Cllr James Waters, leader of Forest Heath, said: “We can all agree that this is a good news story. We do more than keep the lights on.”

After the meeting, Cllr Edwards said: “While many authorities are cutting services and increasing Council Tax by the maximum, we have invested in schemes such as Toggam Solar Farm.

“Our proposed budget means we can continue to drive jobs, improve the economy and work closely with our communities to invest more in local initiatives.”

Across Forest Heath, the average rate rise for parish councils is 2.5 per cent, bringing their precept to about £89 a year in total.

Once the proposed increases are approved, Forest Heath will still have the lowest Council Tax in Suffolk.

However, councillors at East Cambridgeshire District Council are set to continue their tax freeze for the fifth year, meaning rate payers in that district will continue paying £142 to that authority.

The bulk of the Council Tax goes to county authorities, with Suffolk and Cambridgeshire both hiking rates 4.99 per cent.



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