Council tax bills for East Sussex households set to rise again

Council tax bill
Council tax bill

East Sussex households are facing the prospect of another council tax rise from April.

East Sussex County Council is proposing to increase its precept by 3.99 per cent in 2020/21, which would add another £57.20 on to a bill for a Band D property.

This would be on top of any increases agreed by district and borough councils as well as Sussex Police.

Over recent years the county council, like many other local authorities across the country, has been faced with Government funding cuts coupled with increasing demand for services.

Its draft budget for 2020/21 has now been published, outlining areas where £3.5million of savings could be made alongside plans for extra spending worth £6.5 million.

Next week the council’s cabinet will consider officers’ proposals for a £1million boost to highways for patching work, line repainting and installing dropped kerbs, money for improvements to residential homes for children with disabilities as well as delaying some previously agreed savings.

The extra money could also help establish a project which helps young people with difficult lives access a range of support, expand the family-led process of making decisions for children at risk and get more personal support to help vulnerable people and families avoid homelessness.

The potential areas for extra spending are being recommended because they aim to reduce costs in the future.

Becky Shaw, chief executive at the county council, said: “We welcome some recent additional funding from Government which could be invested in services that benefit the most vulnerable in our society and prevent them from needing greater support and care in the future.

“Although our proposals include additional investment, we will still need to find savings of £3.5 million in 2020/21, guided by our agreed priorities for the county to ensure we direct our resources to where there is the greatest need and where they can have the most significant impact.”

She added: “While our careful planning has left us in a strong position, we face ongoing pressures which can only be addressed with sustainable funding, and we will continue to lobby central Government for a system that enables us to properly plan and deliver the highest quality services possible.”

While the proposals result in a balanced budget for 2020/21,a £9.3million deficit is currently forecast by 2022/23 after savings have been made.

The draft budget and council plan will be discussed by cabinet on Tuesday January 28.

Cabinet members will be asked to make recommendations to the full council where a final decision will be made on Tuesday February 11.