Newhaven town authority defends inflation busting precept increase

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NEWHAVEN Town Council defended its above inflation precept increase of more than nine per cent, arguing this was the first rise since 2009-10.

It said it needed extra money to continue providing services such as youth clubs, holiday activities and the community bus.

The precept, which is the town council’s share of the council tax, will be £386, 927 for 2012-2013.

This represents an increase of 9.26 per cent compared to last year’s precept of £354,145.

For a Band D property in Newhaven this means the annual council tax payable to the town council will be £94.06, compared with £85.95 in 2011-12 – an increase of 16p per week.

Inflation was running at 3.6 per cent (CPI) in January, against a backdrop of job losses, pay freezes and rising unemployment.

There was no increase at all for 2010-11 or for 2011-12.

Town council leader Judith Ost said: “Prices have been rising fast and unfortunately the town council cannot continue to absorb these as we have done for the last two years. We want to be able to continue to support youth clubs and school holiday activities as well as the community bus. We want to continue to provide Christmas Lights, grit bins and a good cemetery service.

“Many people appreciate the green spaces that we manage across the town and Newhaven in Bloom work wonders with their own enthusiasm backed by a small grant from us.”

Other projects the council is support financially are CCTV in the town centre, the Citizens Advice Bureau, social centres run by the town council, which needed maintenance and support.

The council also wants to combine the What’s On in Newhaven leaflet with a regular community newsletter, to be delivered to all households. It is putting £4,000 aside for the Jubilee and Olympics. It will also support the 70th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid.

Cllr Ost added: “In addition the West Beach issue is not settled yet and may cause further legal bills.

“We have continued to allocate money to the fighting fund.”