The Secretary of State made adjustments to the final settlement, having recognised that the settlement is demanding and therefore introduced transitional funding for this year and next, and removed the negative Revenue Support Grant (i.e. paying the government £240k) in the following year.
As a result Ipswich has extra grant funding of £119k this year and next, and negative RSG of £130k will not occur in 18/19 as first calculated.
On our side, we look forward to the positive features of 100% business rates, regardless of the devolution outcomes. Unfortunately Labour see this change to rates as a threat despite the LGA asking for this for years. It is some years off, we still don’t know full details but find it a positive move for the town.
This council had the chance to freeze council tax with the council tax freeze grant but only did so in 2012/13. As a result Ipswich residents will now be paying 8% more than they need to. Last year was the last official chance to take up the freeze grant offer, and they refused it. They failed to follow government guidance when it would have been of benefit to our residents but now say they have to raise CT by up nearly 2% just because the government says this is the recommended rate.
However we feel that with the extra £119k grant this year, this is broadly in line with what a freeze grant would have given us under the previous local government settlements.
Let’s enable our residents to keep a bit more of their own money. After all, they know how to spend their own money and we don’t have to take it off them.
Thankfully the government introduced the referendum cap a few years ago, so never again will we see Ipswich Labour increasing Council Tax by 23% as they did between in the 2002/03 & 2003/04 periods, or Labour at SCC where the figure was 45% accumulated.
Labour has issues balancing responsibility to taxpayers both locally & nationally with provision of public services. Our proposal does strike this balance in a reasonable way and no-one will see any changes to front line services.
Naturally our self serving Labour council rejected it and stuck up council tax for yet another year.