Council tax rise

Breckland councillors have rubber-stamped an increase of 2.75pc in their own share of this year's council tax.On an average band D property residents will pay £61.

Breckland councillors have rubber-stamped an increase of 2.75pc in their own share of this year's council tax.

On an average band D property residents will pay £61.98 for Breckland services - which is only four per cent of the overall bill of £1,384.21. Breckland insists it levies the lowest council tax in the country. Norfolk County Council takes £1,091, police have £178 and towns/parishes take an average of £52.

Breckland's overall budget for the year is about £18.3m - but with income and grants the amount charged to residents is £2.6m.

During a meeting of Breckland's full council on Thursday some members voiced concerns about the Norfolk Police Authority part of the overall bill being capped after the authority agreed a rise of 8.3pc. Whitehall has indicated authorities which go over a 5pc rate rise could face the sanction.

There were fears about the impact of a fresh set of bills on Breckland which collects council tax on behalf of police, Norfolk County Council, and town and parish councils. Councillors were told if the bills had to be sent out again it would cost £130,000 - and Breckland chief accountant Mark Finch said police “would have to pick up the tab for that if they were capped”.

He stressed he had no evidence if police would be capped.

Most Read

Councillor Phillip Duigan said he was concerned that if police were capped it could lead to re-billing and affect Breckland's collection rates.

Fellow Breckland member John Rogers said: “I sincerely hope police are capped.”

John Labouchere said Breckland was a “very high spending” council as well as having a lower precept than adjoining councils. “That is a pretty incredible set of figures.”

Council leader William Nunn said: “Council tax is a significant expense for us all. We are committed to running your council effectively and making every tax pound work for you; and our level of expenditure on services compares very favourably to that of other councils.

“Nationally, we are one of the most improved councils over the last three years with some of the highest levels of customer satisfaction. We work hard to continually improve services, make efficiencies and look at alternative ways to generate revenue so that we can keep our council tax charge as low as possible.”

After the Breckland meeting Stephen Bett, chairman of Norfolk Police Authority, said: “I don't think this will happen. If the government want to cap us then they will have to cap lots of others across the country who are above us.”

Last week the authority agreed to a revenue budget of £138.5m for the forthcoming financial year, taking council tax police precept for the average Band D property from £164.88 to £178.56 per year, an increase of £13.68. The Home Office has withdrawn £732,000 from Norfolk police's anti-terrorism budget. This is a result of the introduction of armed patrols by MoD police at the Bacton terminal.