Suffolk’s cabinet backs 4.99 per cent tax rise

Suffolk County Council's headquarters at Endeavour House, Ipswich
Suffolk County Council's headquarters at Endeavour House, Ipswich
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A council tax rise of 4.99 per cent and budgets cuts of £27 million were approved by Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet yesterday.

It is the first tax rise in seven years and the Cabinet approved changing the way the increase is allocated from the split originally proposed.

To meet Government rules it was planned to have a 1.99 per cent base tax rise with a three per cent adult care precept, but the Government now allows councils to add up to 2.99 per cent to base tax.

So Suffolk will now levy a 2.99 per cent base tax increase with a two per cent adult social care precept, which will then allow it to increase the social care precept by one per cent next year, which it would not have been able to do before.

But that still means a £12 million cut to adult and community services, plus £250,000 of health, wellbeing and children’s services.

Cabinet member for finance and transformation, Richard Smith, said: “We are putting forward proposals that offer the best approach possible, given the clear and present challenges we face.“

Social care cuts were criticised by Andrew Stringer, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group, who said: “This is clearly an example of picking on a soft target for savings. Without this minimal support, many elderly residents will very quickly flounder and struggle to retain their independence.”

The county’s Band D tax rises by £1.14 a week if approved by its full council on February 8.