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Breckland district council tax rise approved


A near £5 average rise in Swaffham council tax bills has been confirmed following the approval of district authority budget plans.

Breckland councillors approved the measures during a meeting in Dereham last Thursday.

But projects in the town and surrounding areas could also benefit from a share of a multi-million pound fund that is set to be distributed for community initiatives.

The budget allows for a £4.95 annual increase in tax for a typical band D property during the forthcoming financial year.

However, officials say the district’s tax charge will still remain the lowest in the country despite the rise.

They also point out that most residents will pay less because their homes fall into lower tax bands.

Philip Cowen, the authority’s executive member for finance, said: “A small increase in district council tax provides us with opportunities to further safeguard services going forward, for example by enabling us to make investments which will bring in new income in the future.

“This approach will help keep the financial burden off residents and businesses as much as possible.”

The budget plan also includes a proposal to spend more than £3 million over the next two years on community projects across the district.

Officials say the money for the programme will be raised by coverting bonuses paid for the delivery of new homes into reserves.

Mr Cowen said: “I am proud to announce a balanced budget and a sound financial plan that put us in an exceptionally strong position.

“We’ve avoided making cuts to frontline services through sensible financial planning and by making our services and back-office teams more efficient.

“We’re actively supporting the local economy, particularly by encouraging housing and business growth, which is helping to create a thriving district – now and for the future.

“Through our commercially-minded approach, which generates around as much money as we receive from local council tax, as well as the efficiencies we are making, we can remove our reliance on the central government revenue support grant a year earlier than planned.”

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