Ipswich Borough Councilís proposed budget
Published Tuesday 12th February 2013
Ipswich Borough Council is proposing to put up council tax by a rate lower than inflation - 1.98% - thatís 9p or less a week for most households.
Council Leader David Ellesmere said: "Government funding cuts, which are far greater than originally expected, have forced us to bring in this increase to protect services for the residents who rely on them."
The majority of houses in Ipswich will have an increase of 9p a week or less (67% of houses are in either Band A or B). Councillor Ellesmere said: "We want to avoid the sort of cuts we have seen elsewhere in Suffolk such as higher car parking charges and theatre closures." He added: "Two-thirds of Ipswich people responding to the annual council tax consultation survey backed a small increase to protect services."
Councillor Ellesmere stressed that his administration had saved £5 million in the past two years - including £500,000 from a senior management restructure now nearing completion, and that the new budget includes proposals to use the Council's reserves as well as millions of pounds of further savings.
The budget protects frontline services and funding for partner organisations while maintaining priority schemes to bring new jobs and growth to Ipswich and to build the first new council houses for more than 20 years.
The Council has been successful in attracting £10.7 million of external investment into the town, including £6.6 million funding for flood defences, and £3.25 million to insulate 384 homes. Car parking charges in the town centre have been cut and the plant nursery in Chantry Park re-opened. An ambitious programme of events has attracted hundreds of thousands of people to Ipswich and the Council has awarded the first bursaries to students at UCS.
Councillor Ellesmere said "We shall continue to review all our operations since even with this small increase we will need to make substantial further cuts in future years."
The decision on council tax will be made at a meeting of full Council later this month.
Download the Financial Plan Executive Report to view the budget proposals in full.