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SCC 21/22 Budget and Tax Rate set

February 12, 2021 2:20 PM

Suffolk County Council agree on 4% council tax rate for 2021/22. Suffolk County Council (SCCNAME PLATE)

Another piece of the annual Budget jigsaw was put into place yesterday as the Conservative led County authority set the budget for the coming year and agreed a rise of 4%. This will be added to respective precepts from Districts, Borough and local town and parish Councils and the Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner. The Council had the option to go for a maximum of 5% which would have provided more funds for the crisis ravaged social care sector. The decision will result in a budget of £597.9m an increase of £41m and an extra £53.55 for a Band D property on this year's bill.

The Lib Dem,Green,Independent Group put forward an alternative Budget as set out by retiring Lib Dem Councillor David Wood in his farewell piece for Babergh LDs website and www.suffolk.uk

LDGI Group Budget Amendment

The LDGI Group's Budget Amendment was submitted to Full Council on February 11th . The key change proposed by the LDGI Group would be to authorise the use of the full 3% social care precept, unlocking the maximum available funding without impacting SCC's reserves. This would generate an extra £3.452m for social care at a cost of only £13.41 per year to a Band D household, freeing up general council tax funds to be spent on other projects and investments including:

  • £700k for establishing a COVID-19 grant scheme for Suffolk charities and arts & culture venues.
  • £500k for a solar energy scheme for Suffolk businesses.
  • £200k for creating an electric bike rental scheme for Ipswich and Lowestoft.
  • £500k to re-enable the use of concessionary bus passes on community transport and demand responsive transport across Suffolk.
  • £1m for a 30mph scheme to convert residential 30mph zones to a default speed limit of 20mph over four years.
  • £15k for a citizen's assembly on how Suffolk can build back better while recovering from the pandemic.
  • £75k to enable community reviews of highways signage in the local area.
  • £50k to expand the flood management team to ensure SCC is applying for all flooding grants it is eligible for.
  • A demand-scoping exercise on where demand is for bus routes, a priority list for where future routes need to be, and a feasibility study on establishing an SCC-owned bus company to serve rural areas if commercial bus companies cannot.

By opting not to take the full 3% social care precept, the administration gave up £3.452m of funding for adult social care that must be made up from the general council tax fund, meaning that worthwhile projects cannot be pursued.

The final budget was approved by 44 votes to eight, with 10 councillors abstaining. The Labour opposition group said it could not back the budget but abstained from the vote.