Council tax frozen by East Sussex County Council

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COUNCIL tax has been frozen for the second year running – seeing council bosses slash £19m from its budget.

East Sussex County Council said it has to save £19m this year but pushed through what the Conservative party are calling ‘a budget for growth’ – freezing council tax for 2012/13.

The council also said residents, businesses and the local economy have been given a ‘huge boost’ after it approved an investment programme for the next four years worth nearly £500m. The decisions were taken at the county council’s main budget meeting on Tuesday February 7.

County council leader Peter Jones, said: “I am extremely pleased that we are providing a massive building programme - a once in a lifetime opportunity for our economy, and at the same time helping our residents by keeping a lid on council tax. We’re able to do this because we’ve managed our finances well and have not ducked out of making tough decisions.”

Commenting on the Council Tax decision, deputy leader Keith Glazier, who has particular responsibility for the council’s finances said: “We know that household budgets are extremely tight and every pound counts - so we’ve taken up the Government’s offer and frozen our part of the council tax bill. I’m sure the decision will be appreciated by people right across East Sussex. The decision means that for an average band D council tax payer, their 2012/13 bill for county council services will stay at £1,158.30 - the same as it was in 2010/11. We have had to economise and find some £19m of savings to balance the books but we are protecting our core priorities.”

Cuts highlighted in the budget to meet the £19m savings include proposals to close four children’s centres and merge them with nearby centres, cuts of £12m from children’s services and £4.7m from adult social care. The budget also states there will be cuts to libraries and street lighting.

Keith Glazier said he was delighted the council had given its thumbs-up to a four-year, multi-million pound building programme for growth. He said: “We’ve got the green light to proceed with our planned development programme which is great news and will help to stimulate our local economy.”

For more information visit www.eastsussex.gov.uk/yourcouncil/about/committees or watch the budget debate on the council’s webcast.