Babergh agrees 3.4% council tax increase

Babergh district council offices

Picture Mark Westley
Babergh district council offices Picture Mark Westley
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Babergh residents will pay a higher council tax after councillors voted in favour of a 3.4 per cent precept increase as part of its 2017/18 budget.

On Tuesday evening, councillors made the decision to increase their part of the council tax, which will see a rise of around 10p a week (£5 a year) for a band D property.

Babergh District Council leader Jennie Jenkins

Babergh District Council leader Jennie Jenkins

The increase was voted through as the council continues to receive less core funding from central government.

Babergh has pledged, however, that those most in need will not pay more than 8.5 per cent of their council tax bill as it continues its Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

The council also promised there would be no significant change to service levels despite the reduction in government support, as income generation and cost reduction measures have been sought to replace the loss in Government funding.

Council house tenants will benefit from a decrease of 1 per cent on council house rents. This is equivalent to an average rent reduction of 91 pence a week, as required by the Welfare Reform and Work Act.

Sheltered housing, which was reviewed last year, will see changes. Some sites lost their sheltered status in the district and those residents that remain in sheltered housing will have to pay increased service charges.

These will rise by a maximum of £4 per week for each scheme to reduce the subsidy from general needs housing by £72,000.

An increase of 10 per cent on garage rents – equivalent to an average increase of 88p per week – was also agreed.

In September, Babergh began building the council’s first new council homes in 30 years.

It has agreed an increase in funding to £5 million for building and acquiring additional social housing in 2017/18.

Babergh District Council leader Jennie Jenkins (pictured above) said the tax increase was necessary due to continued Government cuts.

“We have worked hard to reduce our costs and use our resources as effectively as possible, but the fact is that our funding from Government is set to decrease further over the next few years.

“We are determined to keep our rise both low and proportionate. Even the largest homes in Babergh still only pay £10 more over the year, with the Council Tax Reduction Scheme ensuring residents most in need only have to pay 8.5 per cent of their bill.

“This rise is only a small part of our financial plans.

“We have created shared services with partners, introduced the community infrastructure levy on new developments, developed a new capital investment strategy and are transforming how we maintain our parks and open spaces to deliver the best possible value for our taxpayers.

“We are going to keep working hard to find new ways of working and ensure that we deliver the services our residents need.”