Freeze on the police portion of Eastbourne Council Tax

COUNCIL tax levels in Eastbourne look increasingly likely to stay the same for the coming financial year after Sussex Police became the third body to promise not to raise its fees.

The force, as well as Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC), East Sussex County Council (ESCC) and the local fire brigade, is in charge of setting the rate of different parts of the overall council tax payments.

And earlier this week the police authority revealed it would follow the example set by both EBC and ESCC in resisting the temptation to make up funding shortfalls by passing the burden onto the tax payer.

That just leaves East Sussex Fire and Rescue to declare its intentions.

But any potential increase is unlikely to have much of an impact on the actually amount locals have to fork out, because the largest chunk of overall sum is made up in the section defined by the county council.

A spokesman for the police force said the decision to freeze the payments had been made following “careful debate, public consultation and a detailed review of the budget”.

Concerns that the approach could lead to a reduction in front-line services have been partly allayed by the fact that the authority also confirmed it would be accepting a one-off grant being offered by David Cameron’s Government to tempt bodies to resist any mooted increase.

The same approach was taken by EBC, which stands to benefit from around £200,000 in cash from the Coalition.

Steve Waight, chairman of Sussex Police Authority, said, “I am pleased that as an authority we have been able to agree that council tax payers in Sussex will not have to face a rise for policing the county.

“We have carefully considered the current financial position that we are in and have also looked at the consequences for future years .

“We are confident that we are in a good position to freeze the Council Tax without causing problems for the future.

“This is a significant year for policing as this is the last budget that we will set as a police authority.

“On November 15 this year an election will be held to appoint a commissioner who will replace the authority.

“We have therefore, as ever, thought carefully about the future implications of the budget that we set and what this means for the people of Sussex.

“There were some mixed views over whether or not we should accept the government’s grant offer and was not a decision taken lightly, but I do believe it is the right one for Sussex.”