Suffolk County Council set to raise Council Tax bills

Suffolk County Council's headquarters at Endeavour House, Ipswich
Suffolk County Council's headquarters at Endeavour House, Ipswich

A county council is set to put up its council tax by the maximum allowed by the government.

The rise proposed by Suffolk County Council is 1.99 per cent, the biggest allowed without triggering a local referendum. It also plans to increase its social care precept by three per cent to allow it to pay more for people needing residential care.

It means the occupants of a Band B home, the most numerous in Suffolk, will be paying an extra £46 to the county council next year. District/borough, parish and police costs will have to be added into the total council tax bill.

Even if the rise is agreed the county council will still need to make savings of £27m during 2018/19. It plans to cut services by just under £24m and find the rest of the money needed by taking money out of reserves.

Cabinet member for finance Richard Smith said the increases were necessary because the level of government support to councils was continuing to fall.

The rise is likely to be more than the rate of inflation, which currently stands at 3%.

The largest cuts are set to be in the adult and community services department of the council which is the largest single element of its expenditure – that is expected to see a cut of £11m in its total budget which stood at £229m for the current year (although it is expected to overspend by nearly £2.5m). This saving should come from efficiencies and changing the way care is given – not cuts to front-line services.

Cllr Smith said: “The amount we are spending on this care is increasing – the extra 3% goes towards increasing the amount we spend on social care, especially ensuring staff receive the increased National Living Wage.”