County’s £500m package

BUSINESSES across Eastbourne are hoping a £500million four-year county council investment programme can help kick-start the local economy.

East Sussex County Council held its main budget meeting last week and during the county hall get-together announced it would freeze its part of the annual council tax bill for the coming year.

And councillors also signalled their intent to help local firms with the multi-million pound growth package for the area,

County council leader Peter Jones, said, “I am extremely pleased we are providing a massive building programme – a once in a lifetime opportunity for our economy, and at the same time helping our residents by keeping a lid on council tax.

“We’re able to do this because we’ve managed our finances well and have not ducked out of making tough decisions.”

Those tough decisions have been roundly criticised by opposition councillors who have argued funding is being taken away from key areas, including the care of the elderly and young. However, deputy leader Cllr Keith Glazier was adamant the right decisions had been made and large scale building programmes such as those agreed by the authority would stimulate growth.

He said, “We’ve got the green light to proceed with our planned development programme which is great news and will help to stimulate our local economy.”

And he said he was pleased council tax could remain static. “We know household budgets are extremely tight and every pound counts,” he said.

“So we’ve taken up the Government’s offer and frozen our part of the council tax bill for the second year running.

“The decision means that for an average Band D council tax payer, their 2012/13 bill for county council services will stay at £1,158.30 – the same as it was in 2010/11.”