Battle tax payers to be hit by big increase

THERE was anger this week after Battle Town Council voted to increase it’s share of the Council Tax precept by nearly ten percent

The council voted in a controversial 9.5 percent increase when it met at the Almonry on Tuesday evening.

The big increase was pushed forward by Cllr Richard Jessop who insisted it would help protect and pay for local services and assets.

It was met with strong opposition from councillors Clive Bishop and Sylvie Pry , who argued that many could ill afford the rise, but was eventually voted through ten to four with one abstention.

And tax payers will bear the full brunt with the Council deciding to pocket a Government tax support grant, aimed at easing the tax burden, by putting it into reserves.

Battle Rother councillor Kevin Dixon was quick to give his opinion tweeting “Austerity? Not at Battle Town Council. How can that increase be justified in these times?”

Battle’s big tax increase comes at a time when families nare struggling with rising food and energy costs.

Rother District Council has already made cuts and is in the process of identifying more areas that can be reduced or cut back, including axing staff.

Neighbouring Rye Town Council has yet to set it’s Council Tax precept - that will happen early in January - but in recent years Rye Council has frozen it’s portion of the tax.

A Battle Town Council insider, who did not want to be named, explained: “Battle Town Council does have a lot of assets which are expensice to maintain.

“These include the cemetery, the church-yard, the listed Almonry building and several playing fields.

“But at the same time whole families are having to make cuts and find savings in these difficult times and there was a view that the Town Council should try to do the same and cut its cloth accordingly.

“However, the decision was made to raise the tax to protect assets, though some councillors objected.”