A 3.95 per cent increase in council tax from April was agreed by West Sussex County Council’s cabinet yesterday (Tuesday February 2).
The council’s budget for 2016/17 will be set at £529m but a worse than expected grant from Government and increasing demand for services leaves the authority with a £44.2m black hole in funding.
The increase in WSCC’s element of council tax would add an extra £45.90 a year for a Band D property, and includes the two per cent charge announced by Chancellor George Osborne in November 2015 to help councils meet the demands of supporting an increasingly ageing population.
A final decision will be taken by Full Council on Friday February 19.
Louise Goldsmith, leader of WSCC, said the council had raised concerns about the settlement with local MPs and Government.
She said: “It is with a heavy heart that we present this budget and propose this increase after six years of a council tax freeze.
“I hope residents will understand that this proposal is not being made lightly.
“We are one of the councils worst hit by this funding settlement from Government. That combined with increasing pressure on our resources means we have to propose this increase.”
Jeremy Hunt, cabinet member for finance, added: “This is a very well-managed and efficient council and we have made enormous cost savings over the last few years.
“We budgeted for a steep cut in funding but the grant reduction was far more challenging than anything we had anticipated.
“So for the first time in six years councillors are being asked to support a rise in council tax because we have been left with little choice this year.”
The increase would raise an extra £14.5m a year in council tax, along with £18.6m savings planned for next year and more than £11m savings already delivered.
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