Council tax increase unanimously agreed amid funding pressures

CDC leader Tony Dignum. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170901-111140008

CDC leader Tony Dignum. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170901-111140008

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Councillors unanimously supported an increase in Chichester District Council’s portion of council tax on Tuesday amid ‘continued withdrawal’ of central government funding.

The £5 increase on a Band D property represents the highest rise the council could agree without triggering the need for a referendum.

Councillor Philippa Hardwick, cabinet member for finance and governance, said the move would generate £260,000 and help close a budget deficit that would have otherwise emerged.

She highlighted the rapidly decreasing support from central government - a situation highlighted by many Sussex councils as they agree their annual tax bases.

The new charge of £150.81 for Band D properties will take effect from April.

Leader Tony Dignum highlighted a nine-point list of the council’s achievements.

It included saving £1.5million annually by outsourcing operation of its leisure centres, getting the Enterprise Gateway business space project underway and improving waste collection, street cleaning and parks services to make them among the ‘best in the country’.

He said: “All this has been achieved while avoiding cuts to frontline services and while maintaining support for the most needy in the community, for example with provision for the homeless and with a generous council tax support scheme.”

Councillor Janet Duncton said the financial situation was always ‘challenging’ but the council had never failed to tackle it.

“We have always done it and I think we will do it again this year,” she said.