Council tax rate set

COUNCIL taxpayers in the Great Yarmouth borough look set to pay up to £4.75 extra a month after Great Yarmouth Borough Council cabinet agreed a 2.9pc increase in rates.


COUNCIL taxpayers in the Great Yarmouth borough will have to pay up to £4.75 extra a month after councillors agreed a 2.9pc increase in rates.

The majority of homeowners who live in band A homes - 43pc- can expect to pay £938.43 during the year 2008-9 compared to £900.44 during the previous year, which equates to a £3.17 increase per month.

While the 26pc of residents falling into band B will have to pay £1,094.83 during 2008/9 compared to £1,050.51 for 2007/8, which is a £3.69 per month increase and band D homeowners will be hit with an annual increase of £56.98 from £1,350.66 to £1,407.64, or £4.75.

These figures represent the total precept including Norfolk County Council's, Norfolk Police Authority's and Great Yarmouth Borough Council's contributions. People living in villages pay an additional parish council precept.

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However, the borough council's overall budget for 2008/9 has decreased by £100,000 on the previous year to £15,650,000

Borough council leader Barry Coleman explained the 2.9pc increase was lower than the 4pc rate of inflation expected by the Retail Prices Index, which determines rates of inflation, and had to factor in increases in energy costs, which had risen dramatically this year.

And he said the percentage increase was the lowest for six years, as in 2007/8 the rates rose by 4.4pc on the previous year and in 2006/7 there had been a 4.5pc increase.

Mr Coleman said although there were no plans to cut services, measures had been taken to keep the tax rise as low as possible, such as not filling vacant job positions within the council.

One major future project costing £350,000 is the refurbishment of the Assembly Rooms at the Town Hall in Yarmouth which will result in the Minstrel Gallery being reopened for the first time in 25 years, while a fire escape will be installed to increase capacity from 200 to 400 people.

More work will see health and safety improvements to the grandstand at the Wellesley Road recreation ground in Yarmouth.

Seb Duncan, head of financial services, said the increase was necessary because a £766,000 business growth incentive grant from the government had run out, which is given to councils that increase the rateable value of business properties.