Haverhill grant petition to be delivered

CRUNCH MEETING: Mayor Roger Andr� will hand over petition.
CRUNCH MEETING: Mayor Roger Andr� will hand over petition.

A petition signed by 2,500 people is being presented to St Edmundsbury Council on Monday by Haverhill mayor Roger André.

It calls for St Edmundsbury to reinstate a £128,993 council tax support grant to Haverhill Town Council and has been unanimously backed by town councillors.

Last week St Edmundsbury said it had decided to review financial support for towns and parishes following on-going discussions with the government.

Mayor Roger André said: “We welcome a review of their original decision. For us, it’s about the loss of income over the next couple of years. We fully accept that in the future there will be an increase tax base as the number of households increase.”

He said Haverhill has received £32,000 in council tax support grant from the borough his year, and is set to receive £64,000 next year. But, he said, £128,993 was what the town needed “certainly over the next two years at least”.

Last year St Edmundsbury put forward a plan which saw the council tax support grant – introduced by the government to help offset money towns and parishes could lose through council tax benefit changes - gradually being phased out.

In response, Haverhill and Kedington Labour group launched the petition calling for the borough to pass on the £128,993 council tax support grant, which the borough is phasing out over four years.

St Edmundsbury leader councillor John Griffiths said: “Our towns and parishes need certainty about their future funding so last year, once it was confirmed the government was cutting our revenue support grant funding by 49 per cent over two years, we decided to continue supporting out local town and parish councils – but in line with this financial reality.

“On top of other grants, we are providing additional funding through locality budgets for borough councillors so they can grant money for, and in, our communities.”