Following an announcement by the Government that it will extend the grant it gives to local authorities to help keep council tax down, Councillor Mark Bee has confirmed that Suffolk County Council will not ask residents to pay any more for local services next year.
The financial climate we're in means people throughout Suffolk are wrestling with their household budgets to make ends meet. It's therefore our moral and professional duty to do everything we can to keep delivering quality public services without asking people for more money, however hard that is to achieve.
I'm delighted that this additional support from the Government means that we can freeze council tax for a third year and help the hard working people of Suffolk during these difficult financial times.
Freezing council tax is not without its consequences. With increasing costs and demand for services, we're going to have to work even harder to ensure the front line services that people rely on do not suffer. Today I'm making a commitment that we'll do everything we can to protect those services.
We must also make sure that we continue to deliver on our key priorities, including raising school attainment, creating economic growth, protecting vulnerable people and ensuring everyone in Suffolk has access to broadband.
I'm not saying this is going to be easy but I'm confident that the council's political direction and dedicated staff will ensure the right decisions are made for Suffolk.
This year, the council voted to freeze council tax bills, saving a total of £26 million in the process.
The savings focused on reducing management costs, cutting bureaucracy and protecting frontline services – all priorities set by Mark Bee.
The 2012/13 budget is the first stage of a two year plan to save £50 million from the £1 billion annual budget the county council is responsible for.