Babergh District Councillor Sue Carpendale Gives Update


Budget and Council Tax increase
Babergh’s Budget for 2020/21 has been set at £10.2M. Funding sources include: Earmarked Reserves – £615K; New Homes Bonus – £683K; S31 Grant – £1,107K (covers a variety of specific needs and local government responsibilities); Business Rates – £1,892K; Rural Services Delivery Grant – £227K; and, of course, Council Tax – £5,466K.

Council voted to increase Babergh’s share of Council Tax by £5 a year, but once other precepts are added – county, police and parish – the overall increase in our bills will be higher. For example, the total annual charge for a Band D property in Capel St Mary will rise to £1,814.70. Babergh’s portion of this is £186.86, for the Police and Crime Commissioner it’s £222.75 and for the county it’s £1,343.61. The parish precept makes up the balance.

District councils are the collecting agencies for all of these local taxes. They also collect non-domestic (i.e. business) rates (NDR), but they do not set the level. The Valuation Office Agency determines ‘the rateable value’ and the ‘multiplier’ is set by government. NDR apply to many properties that are not always for business use, e.g. beach huts, village halls, solar farms, doctors’ surgeries, schools and hospitals. Agricultural land and buildings are exempt, as are churches, sewers, parks and bee keeping. Examples of local RV are: Partridges, Hadleigh RV £120,000; Tesco at Copdock Mill RV £2.5M; Stoke by Nayland Golf Club RV £418,500. The ‘multiplier’ means that just under half of the RV is actually payable.

National award for council planners
Planning officers for Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils have been recognised for technological advances as part of 21st century planning. The development management team, which looks after planning matters for both councils, won silver in the Best Use of Digital and Technology category at the annual iESE Public Sector Transformation Awards 2020.

The category recognises the innovative use of digital tools and technology in order to improve services for residents. Judges were impressed by how the team had streamlined the planning application process for residents across the districts, becoming one of the top performing authorities for timely planning decisions. The team has also introduced electronic case management and a mobile app in order to put vital information at the fingertips of officers and the public, with public searches leaping from 600,000 in 2017 to 1.3m in 2018.

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