East Sussex County Council are proposing to increase Council Tax by 5.99% or £78 for a typical household.
If agreed, the Council Tax bill for an average Band D household will go up from £1314.36 to £1393.11.
The reports going to the Council’s Cabinet next week argue that the Government is pressing on with its plans for removing its grant to local government. By 2020/21 the Council will be dependent on Council Tax and Business Rates to pay for services.
As funding from central Government reduces, in order to balance the books the County Council intend to make £17 million in savings in 2018/19, and an estimated £30 million across the two following years.
Although lower than the original estimate of £22 million, this year’s savings would bring the total amount saved by the Council since the start of the decade to £130 million – enough money to provide care for 6,500 vulnerable adults or repair 2.6 million potholes.
Asking residents to pay more would not be something we would do lightly, but the additional contribution would help us support the most frail of our growing elderly population and children in care.
Even with the money a Council Tax increase would generate, and the additional efficiency savings we have been able to identify, we have some very tough choices to make to deliver a balanced budget.
The proposals Cabinet will be discussing involve changing the way services are delivered and stopping some services altogether, while ensuring support is available for the most vulnerable.
The suggested savings include proposals to:
- Reduce the county’s network of library buildings
- Reduce the number of household waste and recycling sites and introduce charging for some types of non-household waste
- Reduce the range and level of a number of adult social care services
- Reduce support for performance and improvement in schools.
Cllr Elkin added:
Through the course of last year we have attempted to highlight to Government the ongoing challenges the county faces, and we are grateful of the cross-party support our Stand Up for East Sussex campaign received.
While we still face a significant shortfall in funding we will, wherever possible, make savings from back office or support services.
We’ve already reduced the number senior managers at the council by 30 per cent since 2010, and the 2018/19 budget includes proposed savings of £1.4million generated by the sharing of finance, IT and HR functions with other local authorities under the Orbis partnership.
The proposed £371 million budget also includes £99 million of capital investment in the year ahead, including support to provide extra school places and transport improvements for drivers, cyclists and walkers.
Cabinet meets on Tuesday 23rd January, to consider the budget proposals and make recommendations to Full Council. Full Council is expected to make a final decision on the 2018/19 budget on Tuesday 6th February.