County council tax frozen for third year and no more budget cuts to come
West Sussex County Council’s share of council tax bills for 2013/14 will be frozen for the third year in a row.
Last week the Observer reported that Crawley Borough Council was proposing a zero per cent increase in council tax.
Now county council Cabinet member for Finance and Resources Cllr Michael Brown confirmed the county council would do the same. He also said no new cuts were planned for the coming financial year, and the county council was on track to reach its £79 million savings programme.
The budget, which was agreed at a full council meeting at county hall on Friday (February 15), means the average Band D council taxpayer will continue to pay £1,161.99 for services . Cllr Brown said: “That means that at 31 March 2014, local taxpayers will in cash terms be paying the same rate of council tax that they were on 1 April 2010. Over that four year period of course, we have experienced inflation, and so in real terms, the tax freeze amounts to nine per cent. Households across the county continue to struggle to make ends meet and we as a council have a duty to help them if we possibly can.”
Cllr Brown said government support for West Sussex was six per cent lower than last year and as the average cut to all councils was 4.1 per cent, it was disproportionately harsh treatment.
Cllr Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “The council has become leaner and more responsive to our residents’ need. We are successfully two-thirds of the way through our three-year savings plan, with savings of £59 million achieved and £20 million to go.”
The revenue budget was set at £535 million. The capital investment budget at £145 million and will include providing 3,500 additional school places over the next two years.
Speaking during the meeting, Cllr Chris Oxlade (Lab, Ifield) said: “Whilst some may applaud the frugalness of the administration, you can’t help wondering, whether the cuts were too hard and too fast. Many of our residents will say yes they were.
“We have heard many times in this chamber, cabinet members saying ‘no front line services have been affected.’ Try telling that to the young people who used Ifield Youth Wing and now can’t as the county closed it.
“Or to the many residents who now do not receive any support from adult social services. These cuts have been harsh and severe.”
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Weather for Crawley
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 6 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North west