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David Ruffley MP layout graphic David Ruffley MP
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Latest Update: Press Releases (23 September 2005)††
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Council Tax concern in St Edmundsbury and Mid Suffolk
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What is not generally understood locally is that most of what St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Mid Suffolk District Council spend is not funded by local council tax. We are heavily dependent on what Mr Blairís government decides to give each year to our Councils via grants from London. As has been widely and accurately reported in the Suffolk press, the Blair grant has been cut in real terms to many rural communities like ours.
In the past four years, council taxes have been an increasing burden on my constituents, rising by many times the rate of inflation. St Edmundsbury Council is hoping to keep their increase to below 5% for the year 2005/06, although this will depend on the settlement granted by the Government. This does represent a slowdown whilst still exceeding inflation. Yet we must not forget that since 1997, under this Government, council tax bills for the average Band D home have increased by a staggering 70 per cent, taking it close to £1,200 per year - £100 a month. This is the ultimate Government Stealth Tax.
The population covered by St Edmundsbury Borough Council, in particular, has grown appreciably in the past decade yet the Government refuses to acknowledge this fact. This is placing a terrible strain on the provision of good quality services by the Council as spending demands grow. Money is shovelled to the Labour Northern heartlands of the cities instead.
The Deputy Prime Ministerís decision to redirect cash from the South, (particularly from shire counties such as Suffolk) to the North has resulted in our local Councils having to raise taxes yet again. The problem is made even worse by local Labour and Liberal Councillors, who run the County Council, failing to influence Labour Ministers in London who are discriminating against Suffolk when Government spending is dished out.
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