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SUFFOLK CC SETS A BUDGET TO DELIVER PRIORITIES

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Suffolk CC has set a budget which aims to deliver better services in areas which matter most to Suffolk people. ...
Suffolk CC has set a budget which aims to deliver better services in areas which matter most to Suffolk people.

Yesterday the county council voted to adopt a budget for 2002-3 based on delivering the council's 11 priorities. These range from helping more older people live independently to helping young people get good jobs and training, to encouraging recycling and getting more people onto public transport.

In the planning this year's budget, the biggest single issue has been dealing with the demand for social care services.

The county council calculates that its additional costs are four times the extra amount given by government for social care services - a gap of around£10m.

Jane Hore, leader of Suffolk CC, said: 'We need to provide more support to let older people live independently. We need to support more children in care, more people with longer life expectancy with learning disabilities. This carries a high cost but these are critical services which make a difference to people's lives.

'Our budget proposals lead to a council tax increase of up to£1.20 a week for the majority of households in Suffolk. This is the Band B cost, and more than half of all homes in Suffolk are in Band B or Band A.

'This is less than the cost of a newspaper and a national lottery ticket every week. That is good value, and ensures that we maintain our current high levels of service, can meet extra demands, and make progress in key areas such as public transport.'

The increase will bring the total bill for county council services to£11.24 a week for the majority of Suffolk households. This goes towards the cost of a whole range of services. Here are the weekly costs to the county council of providing some of those services:

- One visit to a county park - 53p

- Disposing of rubbish -£1.44

- Using subsidised buses -£2.95 per journey

- Weekly visit to a day centre -£20

- Nursery school for a three year old -£55.55

- Home care - weekly average -£70

Jane Hore added: 'Even with this year's increase, Suffolk will still be below the average for council tax (20th out of 34) among county councils. And we are providing some of the best services in the country. We think people will see this is a price worth paying.'

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