Swaffham mayor vows town council ‘won’t shirk its duty’ as five per cent tax rise is agreed

The Buttercross in Swaffham.
The Buttercross in Swaffham.
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Swaffham Town Council is set to raise its precept by 5.1 per cent this spring.

The move, which was agreed at a finance meeting last Monday, will raise council tax bills by £7.11 a year for an average band D property, around 13 pence a week.

Town mayor Paul Darby said the authority had little choice but to impose an increase.

He said: “The budget has to be at a sensible level, as we are taking on more and more at the town level. This puts pressure on staffing levels and costs, which will inevitably rise as a result.

“There are many hard decisions ahead for the town council, as sometimes the choice will be either the service is taken on by the town or there will be no service at all.”

He highlighted the town council’s decision to take on responsibility for street lights on two new estates in the south of the town, which would previously have been the responsibility of Norfolk County Council.

He added: “It is all about choices, and the town council will not shirk their responsibility moving forward.”

Overall, the town council will charge a precept of £357,605 in the 2017-18 financial year, around £34,000 higher than the current total.

Officials say that reflects a higher council tax base, as well as its own increase in bills.

Market stall rents are being frozen and the council is also planning to stage a regular programme of entertainment in the town.

Town clerk Richard Bishop said: “The balancing act at budget time does not get any easier and this year has been no exception.”