Last week we published Ipswich Borough Council’s budget for the coming year, writes Borough Council Leader, David Ellesmere.
We have faced cuts in funding every year since we took control the Council, but last year the Government announced an even bigger wave of cuts. Over the four years from 2017 we will receive £12million less funding.
This level of cuts has already driven some councils over the edge. Conservative-controlled Northamptonshire County Council has effectively put itself into administration and stopped all new spending.
We are not in that position in Ipswich. We have managed the Council’s finances well and made significant savings through changing the way the council operates.
None of these changes have affected services members of the public see.
The commercial property investments we have made have also taken considerable pressure off the budget, bringing in around £1.8million extra a year.
This is why all our council services will be protected over the coming year and, unless the Government imposes additional cuts, for the three years after.
We will also keep brown bin collections free of charge – the only council in Suffolk to do so.
In Ipswich Council Tax bills are made up of charges from three authorities: Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk County Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Council Tax bills will be going up this year, but our share of this is the lowest of the three authorities.
For the average Band B property, Labour-run Ipswich Borough’s increase is the equivalent of 15p a week.
But the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner is increasing his council tax by 18p a week. Conservative-run Suffolk County Council are increasing theirs by a whopping 88p a week.
In fact, the increase from Suffolk County Council this year alone is more than all the Ipswich Borough Council increases put together since Labour took control in 2011.
We do recognise the impact this large increase from the County Council could have on people already struggling to make ends meet so have changed the terms of the Council Tax Reduction scheme to help those on the lowest incomes.
Ipswich people on the lowest incomes will not see any increase in their council tax bills, but will actually see a reduction.