Crawley council tax bills set to rise

Crawley Town Hall

Crawley Town Hall

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Crawley households’ council tax bills are set to rise by nearly £60 a year from April as all three precepting authorities are proposing increases.

Crawley Borough Council is planning a 2.52 per cent increase, equivalent to an extra £4.77 a year for a Band D property.

West Sussex County Council is set to put another £47.70 on its precept, a 3.95 per cent increase, while Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne has agreed a £5 a year increase from April.

The borough council can only increase its share of council tax by up to two per cent or £5 a year, whichever is highest, without having to call a referendum.

Councillor Peter Lamb (Lab, Northgate), leader of Crawley Borough Council, said: “We’ve worked hard to balance the budget despite significant cuts in our funding from the Government. At many points it looked like an impossible task.

“Fortunately, through careful management of the council’s finances we’ve managed to find a way forward while keeping the proposed council tax rise as low as possible.

A report due to be discussed by councillors next week reads: “The 2017/18 Budget Strategy aimed to keep any increase in council tax low without compromising services.

“On the advice of the Budget Advisory Group It is proposed to increase the council tax by £4.77 per annum for a Band D property which is an increase of 2.52 per cent, this is an increase of less than 9p per week.”

The Budget is set to be debated by the council’s Cabinet on Wednesday February 8 and then by all borough councillors on February 22.

The council has seen its revenue support grant cut from central Government by nearly 42 per cent cut and a surprise cut in New Homes Bonus, which local authorities receive when new properties are built, and represents the largest cuts in spending power of any council in West Sussex.

Despite this the council has identified extra income, efficiencies and savings of just under £2m, including additional rental income from the purchase of investment properties of £507,000.

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