Wealden’s council tax frozen for fifth year

Wealden district council offices, Hailsham

Wealden district council offices, Hailsham

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Wealden District Council’s cabinet is proposing to freeze council tax at just £3.35 a week for the fifth successive year.

Wealden leader Cllr Bob Standley said: “In 2008 a we started a far-reaching process of transformation to reduce the annual cost of running the council by £3million without affecting front-line services.

“These included consolidating our offices in one place and setting up a joint waste contract with Eastbourne, Hastings and Rother Councils to manage refuse and recycling. We have also set up a number of other shared services with neighbouring authorities to reduce costs whilst maintaining a high level of service.

“This has placed us in a strong position to meet continued pressure on public spending and with the additional one per cent grant from the Government we are once again able to propose a council tax freeze. During the past four years, while the council has been able to avoid any increase in our share of council tax, we have seen residents’ satisfaction with the way this council runs its services rise to 75 per cent, compared from just over 50 per cent in 2008.

“Whilst there is still more to do as councils move to becoming locally-funded and less reliant on central Government, actions we have taken in recent years mean we are prepared for the changes and will maintain the high standard of services which people enjoy.”

While carrying out its Transformation Programme, the council has undertaken a £7 million refurbishment at the District’s Freedom Leisure Centres in Crowborough, Uckfield, Heathfield and Hailsham, completed a programme to build 64 new council houses – its first for over 30 years – and exceeded targets for the number for affordable homes built.

The council will consult on its budget proposals, including businesses and parish and town councils. A final decision on the amount of council tax collected for Wealden’s services – which accounts for only ten per cent of residents’ total council tax bill - will be made by full council on February 25.