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Home > News > Babergh sets 2018/19 Budget

Babergh sets 2018/19 Budget

Posted by on 20 February 2018 | Comments

Babergh District Council this week voted to approve their budget for 2018/19, including a 3.25 per cent increase in Council Tax.

The budget was voted on this evening (20 February), comes into effect on 1 April this year and will see council tax rise by 3.25 per cent,

Councillors made the tough decision to increase Babergh’s part of the Council Tax precept by 3.25 percent, equivalent to £5 per annum for a Band D property. The increase was voted through as Babergh faces further cuts in core funding from central government, which will drop to zero by 2019/20.

However, the council agreed in December 2017 that those most in need will not pay more than 5 per cent of their council tax bill under Babergh’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

The key highlights from the meeting are:

  • An increase in Council Tax of 3.25 per cent, which will see the largest properties paying £10 more over the course of the year, with the smallest seeing an increase of just £3.33
  • A decrease of 1per cent in Council House rents, equivalent to an average rent reduction of 90p a week
  • Service charges increasing by £5 a week, which coupled with the removal of the Sheltered Housing Supported people charge of £3 a week will result in a net increase of £2 per week for tenants, which may be recoverable through Housing benefits depending on the tenant’s circumstances
  • No increase in the Sheltered Housing utility charges
  • No increase in garage rents
  • No increased costs in light of the recent end of credit card charges, with the cost of future credit card transactions borne by the council

This follows a Babergh Full Council meeting in December 2017 at which the Council Tax reduction scheme was amended to ensure that the poorest residents pay just 5 per cent of their bill, down from a previous rate of 8.5 per cent.

Cllr Peter Patrick, Babergh District Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “It’s no secret that local government is facing a big financial challenge as central government funding is slowly withdrawn. As part of meeting that challenge we do need to raise our Council Tax by 3.25%.

“This is not the whole story: in line with agreed strategy, we are generating significant investment income. Our major property investment vehicle, through which we will borrow to invest, should generate a regular income of approximately £1.1m per annum, with other long term investments providing a further £400,000.

“In addition, part of our response to our financial situation is in transforming how we work while continuing to provide excellent services.  Our move to Endeavour House has enabled a significant change in working practice; the use of IT, both internally and in communicating with our customers, has provided major efficiencies. This past year has seen other significant changes: introduction of an effective Cabinet system, adoption of an ambitious Leisure Strategy and work on a new Housing Strategy. We are determined to improve the supply of affordable homes and will use the proceeds of Right to Buy disposals to help fund new builds. We have also made great advances in designing a new Local Plan, and communities have been encouraged to develop Neighbourhood Plans, while our Planning and Development service has been overhauled and is achieving enhanced performance levels. 

“Our proposals are far bigger than simply changes in Council Tax: through a whole range of measures, we are changing how we work and will continue to provide better value for money for our residents.”