Eastbourne councillors vote to increase their share of council tax

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

Eastbourne Borough Council will increase its share of the council tax – the first raise in six years.

Councillors blamed their decision on ‘deep cuts in government funding.

At their cabinet meeting last night (Wednesday) councillors agreed a 1.9% rise for 2016/17, having received the second biggest reduction in funding across the country for the period 2016-2020 in the latest government settlement.

In 2007, Eastbourne’s support from central government was £10 million and that figure now stands at just £5 million.

Despite this, the council has maintained front line services to the public and put into practice a sustainable service delivery strategy to save £3million year-on-year through efficiencies and other savings through to 2020.

Councillor Gill Mattock, Lead Cabinet Member for Financial Services, said: “This government settlement is punitive and comes on top of consecutive years of severe funding cuts.

“We are set to receive the second largest cut of authorities in the country by 2020.

“We are committed to protecting frontline services while making savings through efficiencies, particularly our strategy to integrate services with Lewes District Council which will save around £1million over the next four years.”

For a Band D property, the Eastbourne Borough Council element for 2016/17 will be £228.51, equating to an extra £4.32 a year.

East Sussex County Council (ESCC) currently charges £1203.93 for a Band D property, accounting for more than 72 per cent of the current council tax bill.

ESCC has agreed in principle a council tax rise of 3.99 per cent, the equivalent of £47.84 a year for a Band D property, and this will be discussed further at full council later this month.

Sussex Police is proposing a 3.4 per cent increase to its precept.

Councillor Mattock added, “By transforming the way our services are delivered, we managed to freeze the council tax for five years but are unable to maintain this in the face of drastic reductions in the government grant.”

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