Rye councillor Sam fears for future of Rother Council

ROTHER Council could collapse if it does not get more funding or revenue one Rye district councillor has warned.

Cllr Sam Souster spoke out as the council voted to freeze it’s portion of the council tax despite having to make deeper cuts in the future.

Cllr Souster said: “I don’t think the council can carry on operating in the future the way it is now if we keep eating into the reserves.

“Officers have been warning of the consequences for a few years now.”

Rye’s other district councillor Lord Ampthill has explained that Rother would have not gained much revenue by increasing council tax by below the two percent which would avoid triggering a referendum.

If it had put up tax, he explained, the council would have missed out on a government grant for freezing it and would only have been £30,000 a year better off.

Lord Ampthill echoed Cllr Souster’s fears that council tax levels had been two low and commented: “Our council tax base has historically been too low and we could now be reaping the whirlwind for that.

“Rother must still find more savings and unfortunately the tourism budget may be reduced.

“I am increasingly uncomfortable about our lack of control over our own affairs.

“Governments of all colours are continually moving the goal-posts and we have no room to manoeuvre.

“No statutory services are facing cuts and we may have to trim some statutory ones.

“There is revenue potential if new businesses re-locate here and more housing is built, but can the infrastructure and services cope with that?”

Rother expects Government funding to have dropped by around £2.8million between 2010/11 and 20/15/16. A total of £1million worth of savings will need to be found to meet the projected shortfall.