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Council tax could rise by £5 in Babergh

PUBLISHED: 11:30 09 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:29 09 January 2020

Endeavour House in Ipswich, the headquarters of Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils. Picture: ARCHANT

Endeavour House in Ipswich, the headquarters of Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Council tax is set to rise by £5 a year on a Band D property in Babergh accoridng to a draft budget for 2020/21 which is due to be considered by councillors.

John Ward, leader of Babergh District Council and cabinet member for finance. 
Picture: PAUL NIXONJohn Ward, leader of Babergh District Council and cabinet member for finance. Picture: PAUL NIXON

Meanwhile, council house rents could also rise by nearly £10 a month - the first increase after four years of reductions - while sheltered housing tenants also face an increase of £2 a week on their bills under proposals to be considered by Babergh cabinet members.

The council says the increases are in the face of reduced government finance and a changing funding landscape.

Other proposals include:

- No change in the Council Tax Reduction Scheme that sees poorest residents pay just 5% of their bill

- A change to empty property discount - reducing the period unoccupied and unfurnished properties pay discounted council tax from three months to 28 days

- Continued investment in CIFCO - the council's property investment company contributes more than £1.4m a year to Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils and makes a significant contribution towards the councils' services

- An increase in long-stay car parking charges from £2 to £3. However, short-stay parking for up to three hours will remain free at many town centre car parks

The budget report says cumulative savings/income of £30.9m have been achieved by the council since 2011/12, with a further £2.7m in savings and income identified for 2020/21 and beyond.

It is set to be considered by cabinet on January 16 then by the overview and scrutiny committee on January 20.

It will then go to the full council in February and, if approved, come into effect on April 1.

John Ward, council leader and cabinet member for finance, said: "We do not take the decision to increase council tax lightly and understand the impact on residents of even a small increase of £5 over the whole year for a Band D property.

"Similarly we know council tenants will not welcome an increase in rent, but this is necessary so we can maintain homes to the standard they expect and meet future social housing demand.

"By taking these difficult decisions we can propose a 2020/21 budget which, despite the financial challenges we face, protects and enhances our services to residents."

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