Welcome for council tax

A below inflation rise in council tax has been welcomed in Breckland.Breckland Council has set council tax for next year at £61.98 for a D-band property after it agreed its 2008/9 budget at its full council meeting on Thursday.

A below inflation rise in council tax has been welcomed in Breckland.

Breckland Council has set council tax for next year at £61.98 for a D-band property after it agreed its 2008/9 budget at its full council meeting on Thursday.

This is an increase of £1.66p on last year's council tax, or 2.75pc.

Councillors said it would have been £81 if it had been inline with inflation. About 78pc of homes in the district lie in the lowerst bands and will pay below the band D rate.

The cash is needed to top up the council's spending by some £2.6m on top of what it receives in grants from central government.

Its total planned spending for the year is £18m.

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The biggest costs to the council are waste collection, nearly £1.7m, street cleaning, at just over £1m, housing benefit administration and Breckland Partnership costs, at nearly £1.4m, and staffing.

Schemes in the pipeline for cash in 2008/9 include £2m for the Rev Project at Thetford Enterprise Park, £1.6m towards the cost of buying the Barnham Broom Golf and Country Club and £2m for an extension to the council's Elizabeth House building.

Bill smith, executive member for the cabinet, said: “Currently the budget is stable through to 2014.

“This is generally a low income area and there is increasing pressure on young people and older people.

“A below inflation increase does not mean a fall in quality of service, we are the fourth most improved council in the country meeting 80pc of our targets.”