The portion of Council Tax which goes to fund Sussex Police will increase by 7.5% in April. This is the maximum allowable, and means an average Band D household will pay £15 per year more.
At their meeting on 29th January, a majority of Councillors and independent members on the Sussex Police & Crime Panel voted to support the county’s Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) proposal. Seventeen members voted in favour, with one voting against and one abstention.
By raising the precept this year by £15, the PCC will provide the Chief Constable with the resources to continue the local recruitment programme, meet the significant costs arising from the pandemic, and prepare the force to meet the increased demand and emerging threats and meet the expectations of visitors, residents and tax payers.Report to the Sussex Police & Crime Panel
In the last 5 years, the precept has increased by £66 from £148.91 (for a Band D household). However Sussex still has one of the lowest Council Tax bills in England for policing.
Sussex PCC Katy Bourne carried out a consultation on the proposed increase in early December with a survey on policing priorities and police funding. To reach out to younger residents, this year a policing challenge game was developed with the same questions and opportunities to rank crime concerns.
The meeting was told there had been 4,465 responses to the consultation, with 2,266 (50.8%) supporting an increase of £15 and 858 (19.2%) supporting an increase of £10. The increase and other policing issues was discussed with 32 parish and town councils across East and West Sussex, with 22 saying they would support a £15 rise though it was stressed that the public would need to see success. Of the 32 councils, 11 said they were very happy with the police and 21 said they were fairly happy.
At the meeting of the Panel the financial challenges of the last year were discussed, including the £7.3m cost of policing the pandemic. The Government will reimburse £4.9m but that still leaves Sussex Police facing a savings requirement of £2.4m over the next 12 months.
Commenting Mrs Bourne said:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the residents and local representatives who took the time to talk to me over the year and those who also engaged with my surveys and online feedback channels.
This has been such an incredibly challenging year and I have not disregarded or underestimated the economic hardship that some find themselves in at this time. However, it is vital to ensure that our police force, our frontline throughout this pandemic and beyond, is supported and that residents continue to receive the best possible policing service.
I’m grateful the Panel recognised that I have listened carefully to residents’ needs and balanced those with the Chief Constable’s operational requirements. With their support today, further investments can now be made in increased enforcement, more investigation and in the introduction of efficient technological advances that will save operational policing time.
Sussex Police has continued with recruitment throughout this year, despite the challenges incurred by the pandemic, and our Chief Constable has shown a welcome determination to keep providing the extra boots on the ground and visible policing in our communities that residents have asked for and value so highly.
Officers and staff have not only been successfully policing this pandemic but, from last year’s precept investments, Sussex Police has also launched different specialist teams that have supported our rural communities, helped to protect our local high streets, taken some of the most wanted criminals off our streets and safeguarded hundreds of vulnerable victims.
This investment will help Sussex Police to continue on that upward trajectory and I will continue to monitor their progress closely.Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner
A full breakdown of the online survey results can be found on the PCC’s website: Precept survey 2021/22. The results show that 86 or (38%) residents in Wealden which responded to the online survey wanted to pay nothing more – the highest proportion of any district.
Round-up of Council Tax increases
The following table summarises the agreed or proposed changes to the Council Tax bill for each authority:
|Authority||Band D 2020-21||Percentage Increase||Increase in 2021-22|
|East Sussex County Council~||1,492.02||3.49||£52.02|
|East Sussex Fire Authority^||95.53||1.99||£1.90|
|Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner||199.91||7.5||£15.00|
|Wealden District Council*||197.44||0||£0.00|
|Crowborough Town Council||168.76||2.15||£3.63|
~ Combined charge for ESCC – 3% over two years for Adult Social Care & 1.99% this year for the rest of the County Council
^ 1.99% increase agreed at Fire Authority meeting on 11th February (table updated to reflect their decision). Was incorrectly stated as £1.80 not £1.90 (now changed in the table).
* Proposed by Cabinet – needs to be agreed by Full Council on 24th February.
In England Council Tax’s bands range from A (lowest) to Band H (highest). Band A properties pay 2/3rds of the amount paid by a Band D property and Band H pay twice as much. The money is collected by Wealden District Council on behalf of East Sussex County Council, Wealden District Council, Sussex Police Authority, East Sussex Fire Authority and your parish or town council. For more information about how Council Tax is calculated and how to apply for a discount see the District Council’s website: Your Council Tax.