Council tax bill freeze agreed for borough

Cllr Gill Mattock Deputy Leader of Eastbourne Council. May 25th 2011 E21084M ENGSNL00120110526085802
Cllr Gill Mattock Deputy Leader of Eastbourne Council. May 25th 2011 E21084M ENGSNL00120110526085802

Cabinet councillors agreed to freeze Eastbourne Borough Council’s part of the council tax bill for the fifth year in a row despite ongoing cuts in government grants.

The council’s government grant has reduced by more than 50 per cent in the last eight years and is set to drop again to £6.6m for the next financial year.

At a meeting on Wednesday, councillors heard that new ongoing efficiency savings of more than £1m a year have been made on average in each of the last five years in addition to finding new, supplementary income streams.

Cabinet portfolio holder for financial services, councillor Gill Mattock, said, “This is the fifth consecutive year we have frozen the council tax in Eastbourne. We have totally transformed the way services are delivered which has resulted in efficiency savings averaging over £1m per year. At the same time we have ensured that front line services are maintained.”

Eastbourne Borough Council’s portion of the average £1,668 per annum bill is £224.19, with the biggest portion of the bill levied by East Sussex County Council.

The county council looks set to increase its portion of the council tax by 1.95 per cent to help maintain services. This increase would equate to 44p a week for a Band D property.

Other portions are set by East Sussex Fire Authority and the Sussex Police.

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne has said she expects to increase the council tax precept for the police force by 1.98 per cent, meaning an additional £2.79 per year for a Band D property.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is meeting on February 12 to discuss its portion of the bill. It will either raise council tax by 1.94 per cent, which would mean and increase for a Band D property of £1.62 a year, or it will decided to freeze its portion.

On freezing the borough council’s part of the bill, councillor Mattock added, “We have risen to the challenge set by government and are well-placed financially for the future, having made savings that are beyond projected levels.

“ Core to our achievements is making sure that local people still have access to the best services possible and I am proud to report that yet again, there will be no rise in our part of the council tax.”

The budget will be recommended to Full Council on February 18.