St Edmundsbury budget is passed

West Suffolk House, headquarters of St Edmundsbury Council
West Suffolk House, headquarters of St Edmundsbury Council

St Edmundsbury Council’s budget which sees almost £130,000 of grant funding gradually removed from Haverhill but prevents a council tax precept rise has been voted through

St Edmundsbury Council approved its budget, which had been recommended by cabinet, with 31 voting for and seven against yesterday (Tuesday, February 25).

This makes 2014/15 the fifth financial year out of six that the borough council has not increased its council tax precept, though there was anger from Haverhill at the removal of the council tax support grant of £128,993, which it is being phased out over four years by cutting a quarter – £32,233 – annually.

This cut led to Haverhill Town Council increasing its precept by 3.69 per cent – 7p a week or £3.98 a year for a Band D home.

The Haverhill and Kedington Labour group had launched a petition calling for the ‘stolen’ money to be returned, which was unanimously supported by the town council.

St Edmundsbury deputy leader Cllr Sara Mildmay-White said: “These are challenging times for local authorities as Government funding is cut and income from invested capital is less than inflation.

“St Edmundsbury has a proud track record of sound financial management and innovative use of funding.

Cllr Tony Brown, who voted against the budget with fellow Haverhill Cllrs Gordon Cox and Maureen Byrne, said: “It does seem that everything is too much for Haverhill but there’s blank cheque and anything goes in Bury, and it creates resentment and rightly so.”

Haverhill town clerk Will Austin also lambasted the borough for not passing on the council tax support grant, saying that it was clearly identifiable.

He also highlighted the many areas where the council spends on Bury and not Haverhill.

For the full story and all the latest news see tomorrow’s (Thursday, February 27) Echo.