East Sussex County Council (ESCC) is proposing to increase Council Tax by 3.99 per cent, including a two per cent ‘social care levy’ approved by the Government, which must be spent on adult social care services.
In a letter to the Prime Minister sent on behalf of all political group leaders, ESCC’s Leader Cllr Keith Glazier said the cuts the authority was facing would ‘significantly reduce the quality of life for many people in East Sussex’.
The increase would generate an extra £4.7 million and would preserve funding for a number of services, including some of those which support people with mental health issues, the homeless and young people with complex needs. However, the size of the funding shortfall means many other services will reduce, be provided in new ways or cease altogether.
Cllr Glazier said:
The money we’d raise by increasing council tax would not alter the fact we’re facing very severe financial pressures, but it would allow us to preserve some valued services.
Asking people to pay more of their hard earned money is not something we take lightly, which is why we’ll be looking very carefully at this proposal before any decision is made.
The total Council Tax bill for households includes payments to East Sussex County Council, Sussex Police, East Sussex Fire & Rescue, Crowborough Town Council (or neighbouring parish councils of Withyham or Rotherfield), as well as Wealden District Council, who collect all the money and pass it onto the other authorities.
Wealden District Council
After a five year freeze, Wealden District Council is proposing a 1.9 per cent increase in Council Tax in 2015/16.
Councillor Bob Standley, Leader of Wealden District Council, said
Wealden District Council has reduced its annual running costs by £3 million since 2008, while keeping council tax unchanged. This increase in Wealden’s council tax, to £3.41 a week, is necessary if we are to continue to maintain a high standard of services for all residents.
Crowborough Town Council
Despite the budget increasing by £23,450 to £1,315,109 because of the increase in the number of properties, Town Councillors have been able to freeze the Council Tax for the next financial year. Crowborough Town Council increased their portion of the Council Tax last year by 18.06%, in order to pay for the loan to buy Pine Grove. As the sale has not yet finalised, £170,600 remains in the Council’s coffers unspent. Use of this money has not been decided by the Council and at the last Council meeting their was a discussion about whether funds could be spent on other projects.
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner
Council Tax for policing will increase by an average £5.00 in Sussex. Sussex Police and Crime Comissioner Katy Bourne thanked the Police & Crime Panel for their unanimous support. She said:
I asked Panel members to consider my proposal to invest in digital forensics and in protecting vulnerable people from sexual and domestic abuse.
Sussex Police has seen a significant increase in demand for digital forensics services in the last four years. A recent case identified over a million indecent images on one device and another where 56,000 emails had to be analysed, and cases like these can take weeks of a specialist’s time to investigate.
The police want to ensure these investigations are completed quickly to deliver better criminal justice outcomes for victims so I am pleased that the public and Panel members appreciate the need for additional resources.
East Sussex Fire Authority
Total Council Tax Bill
Taken together the increase for a average Band D property is £1.12 per week. Bands range from A (lowest) to H (highest), and are based on property values in 1991 – Band A for homes valued at less than £40,000 to Band H for dwellings valued at more than £320,00. Band A households will pay two thirds the amount and Band H – twice as much.
Council Tax increases for an average Band D property
|EAST SUSSEX COUNTY COUNCIL^||£1,203.93||£1,251.90||£47.97||3.99|
|EAST SUSSEX FIRE AUTHORITY^||£85.07||£86.72||£1.65||1.94|
|SUSSEX POLICE & CRIME COMMISSIONER||£143.91||£148.91||£5.00||3.47|
|WEALDEN DISTRICT COUNCIL^||£174.06||£177.44||£3.38||1.90|
|CROWBOROUGH TOWN COUNCIL||£151.56||£151.56||£0.00||0.00|
|^ subject to confirmation|