Council tax freeze for Wealden

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WEALDEN residents can look forward to a council tax freeze next year.

Wealden will be consulting on its proposed council tax freeze before a final decision is made by Full Council on February 15. It will mean the Wealden element of residents’ total council tax bill will remain at £174.06 for an average Band D property for the third year in a row, the equivalent of £3.35 a week. This helps pay for services including kerbside recycling collections, public health and environmental protection, planning service, housing support, leisure centres and benefits for people with limited means.

The budget does not allow for a general pay increase for council staff nor an increase in councillors’ allowances. It will be the third year that staff have had no general pay rise and the fourth year allowances have been frozen. There will be provision in the budget for the council’s lowest paid staff to receive a small increase in line with Government policy.

Council leader Bob Standley said: “Thanks to Government support for those councils which limit expenditure rises to below 2.5 per cent, we are able to propose a zero council tax increase for 2012/13 which I am sure will be very welcome. The additional support from the Coalition Government is however only for one year, with the challenge that will give when budgeting for 2013/14.

“However we are doing our part in helping reduce the national deficit and launched our transformation programme nearly three years ago.

“When fully implemented it will deliver savings of more than £3 million a year while maintaining key services.

“The council has today launched its Vision Towards 2015 as part of our corporate plan to explore how best to provide important services in the future. This, with the opportunities presented by the Localism Act, continues the policy of the council working with neighbouring authorities and parish and town councils to deliver the services to our communities in the best way possible.”

The full council tax bill for a Wealden household includes payments to East Sussex County Council, Sussex Police, East Sussex Fire and Rescue and local parish and town councils.

Full details can be found on Wealden’s website: www.wealden.gov.uk