Eastbourne council tax rise on the horizon

Eastbourne Town Hall SUS-140924-144506001
Eastbourne Town Hall SUS-140924-144506001

Eastbourne Borough Council may be raising its part of the council tax for the first time in five years.

Cabinet councillors are blaming ‘deep Government cuts’ for their decision to agree a 1.9 per cent rise for 2016/2017 – which is likely to be rubber-stamped by the Full Council in February.

Central government has slashed the grant given to the council by 30 per cent and plans to reduce it by at least another 30 per cent ending revenue support grant by 2020.

A borough council spokesperson said, “Eastbourne Borough Council has managed to deflect the full impact of the cut by drawing up a sustainable service delivery strategy to save £2.7m year on year through efficiencies and other savings, at the same time as maintaining front line services to the public.”

The rise would equate to an extra £4.26 a year on a Band D property for district services.

Lead Cabinet Member for Financial Services, Gill Mattock, said, “The government cuts in funding for public services are the most severe in the history of local government and we have suffered a 50 per cent reduction in the last six years.

“Our medium term financial strategy had anticipated a 30 per cent to 40 per cent reduction in government funding over the life of the current Parliament, and we now know the cut will be at least 30 per cent and revenue support grant eliminated altogether by 2020.”

East Sussex County Council (ESCC) accounts for more than 72 per cent of the current council tax bill.

The increase by ESCC is yet to be confirmed but for the current Band D property the county council element of the charge is £1203.93.

The Eastbourne Borough Council element is set to be £228.45 in 2016/17.

Councillor Mattock added, “A major strand of our efficiency agenda is the integration with Lewes District Council and the full adoption of shared services between each authority.

“This alone will save approximately £1m over the next four years.”

The final budget and Council Tax will be considered by Council in February 2016.

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