Council tax frozen for third year

THE biggest chunk of the council tax bill will be frozen in West Sussex for a third year running.

West Sussex County Council’s share of council tax bills for 2013/14 will be frozen following today’s (February 15) budget debate at County Hall.

Cabinet member for Finance and Resources Michael Brown also confirmed that no new cuts are planned for the coming financial year, and that the county council is on track to reach the target set for the third and final year of the Council’s £79 million savings programme.

However members of the opposition pointed out the cuts over the past three years are still affecting the vulnerable.

The agreed budget means that the average Band D council taxpayer will continue to pay £1,161.99 for services delivered by the county council. Still to be added to that figure will be the amounts required by individual district or borough councils, Sussex Police, and town or parish councils.

Michael said: “I am delighted to say that for the third year running we are able to freeze council tax. That means that at 31 March 2014, local taxpayers will in cash terms be paying the same rate of council tax that they were on 1 April 2010.

“Over that four year period of course, we have experienced inflation, and so in real terms, the tax freeze amounts to nine per cent. Households across the county continue to struggle to make ends meet and we as a council have a duty to help them if we possibly can.”

Welcoming the budget, leader of the council Louise Goldsmith said: “The council has become leaner and more responsive to our residents’ need, partnerships are working well, we are going ahead with the Think Family project which will help families and communities now and in the future, and we are successfully two-thirds of the way through our three-year savings plan, with savings of £59 million achieved and £20 million to go.”

For full coverage of the approved budget, see next week’s Observer (February 21).