Councillors consider council tax increase in Breckland

Breckland Councillor Philip Cowen. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Breckland Councillor Philip Cowen. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE - Credit: Mark Bullimore/Mark Bullimore Photography 2017

Breckland District Council members will decide whether to raise council tax in order protect frontline services later this month.

A recommendation will be drawn up after councillors discussed a report which recommends a council tax increase of up to £4.95 during a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

The potential tax increase would see residents living in Band D properties having to pay £83.88 from April, while those living in properties which are Bands A to C would see their council tax bill rise by less than £4.95 per year, such as a Band A properties which would rise by £3.30.

According to the council, the increase would allow them to provide better support to frontline services and investment initiatives.

A recommendation on whether to go ahead with the measure will be submitted to a council meeting later in the month.

Councillor Philip Cowen, Breckland Council's executive member for finance, said: 'Breckland Council is working hard to deliver good services for residents while keeping them affordable, our district council services cost households less than a cup of coffee per week.

'We've avoided making cuts to frontline services through sensible financial planning and by making our services and back-office teams more efficient. Our commercially-minded approach is proving successful, with the council generating around as much money from our existing investments as we receive from local council tax.

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'The savings and new income we have delivered to date have seen us save £1.5m since April 2016 and we expect to save more than another million pounds before April 2019.'

The proposed rise was suggested because costs associated with delivering services are continuing to rise through inflation and other pressures, while income from the central government is falling as a result in reductions in revenue support grant and New Homes Bonus.

Mr Cowen added: 'Like many councils, we have been affected by central government cuts to public sector funding, which means we have to think carefully about how we balance our budget going forward and what we want to be able to do in the future.'

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