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Tories will oppose town council's plan to meet cash shortfall

Wednesday, 4th December 2013.

Haverhill Town Council's plans to recoup the £125,000 cut from its funding by St Edmundsbury Borough Council are to be opposed by Conservative members.

The town council recently discovered, along with other parish councils, that transitional funding from the Government to cover changes in the calculation of council tax was to be kept by St Edmundsbury and not passed on to the town and parish councils.

This opened up a shortfall of more than £125,000 in the town council's budget, and members have been considering increasing their element of council tax by four per cent a year for the next four years to fill the gap, so they don't have to cut local services and events.

The rise would amount to about £5 a year for a band D property.

But Conservative members have now announced they will oppose the rise, after a meeting with the town's Tory MP Matthew Hancock.

Following a crunch summit with local Councillors this weekend Mr Hancock said he and other local Conservatives wouldl be fighting the proposed rise and those in following years.

The Town Council had a responsibility to live within its means rather than burdening taxpayers in Haverhill with Council Tax rises, he said.

Mr Hancock said: “Labour’s plan to hit people in Haverhill with a hike in council tax is completely unacceptable which is why local Conservatives will fight it at every step.

"The entire public sector has to live within its means when we are dealing with a deficit left to us by a Labour government. Haverhill Town Council cannot think it is exempt from this.

“It is down to Councillors to find savings rather than burdening taxpayers in Haverhill.”

The leader of the Tories on the town council, who lost one seat to UKIP recently and face another by-election challenge in January, Cllr Betty McClatchey said: “We should fight this increase tooth and nail.

"I have always believed that we have a responsibility to protect taxpayers from increased bills which is why Haverhill’s Conservatives will be opposing this increase.”

Haverhill Online News

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