Babergh District Councillor Derek Davis (Ganges Ward)

This is a tough time of the year for many of us at the best of times with health, wealth and trepidation about what the future holds, short, medium and long term. The pandemic and its wide-ranging effects on the nation’s well-being and finances make this year an even tougher start for many of us.

National measures drip down locally and at Babergh, ward councillors have been the conduit in helping to get various messages to our constituents about the support we can offer, both in terms of the community’s health and well-being and the various financial offers in terms of grants and funding for businesses, community groups and individuals. More details can be found at the Babergh website or contact me direct.

For my Cabinet colleagues and I, dealing with the budget for 2021/2022 has been extremely challenging. We have been looking at this since November, with our financial team of officers undertaking weeks of complex work to ensure we can balance the books. The proposed budget has inevitably led to us needing to make some tough decisions, an increase of £5 for the year of the average Council Tax (based on band D) for example, increasing car parking charges and reducing the period of free parking in Hadleigh and Sudbury, which we all subsidise.

It also means a change in the way our customer access points operate and free swimming for 16s is on hold for a year, though the importance of this initiative has been recognised.

Other things which benefit the people of Shotley and Erwarton carry on and I urge you to take advantage. One is Babergh’s Tree for Life initiative where anyone who had a baby (or lost a baby) during 2020 can organise for a tree to be planted in the child’s honour, either at your home or in a specially designated area within Shotley.

There is also my Locality Award scheme. I’m delighted to say a few groups have applied and I have a few hundred pounds left for this financial year. Due to the unusual circumstances, the application period has been extended to the end of March so if your group wants to apply, please get in touch.

For more details on these go to the Babergh website.
[email protected] / 01473 787375
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