East Sussex County Council freeze council tax

A FREEZE on council tax is being promised against a backdrop of cuts totalling £100m during the next four years.

East Sussex County Council agreed there would be no increase for 2011/2012 as it prepared to cut jobs.

But the pledge comes at a time when fuel and food prices are rising, when inflation (CPI) is running high at four per cent and when VAT has increased.

Council leader Peter Jones (Con, Northern Rother) said: “The good news for our residents is that we’ve been able to use some additional Government grant to freeze our part of the council tax bill.

“We recognise that these tough economic times are making it even harder for individuals and families across East Sussex to manage their household budgets - where every pound counts – so we’re doing our best to help by keeping a lid on council tax.”

Under a coalition promise any council which ruled out a rise would receive additional funding equivalent to a rise of 2.5 per cent.

The council is planning to save £37m in 2011/2012 and proposing to axe between 150-200 full time employees.

It will also slice £20m from children’s services due to significant cuts in various specific grants from Government and other pressures such as the rising demand for child protection services.

The county council is responsible for key services such as education, social services and libraries.

Cllr Jones explained the local authority was able to put the brakes on council tax because of its sound approach to managing its finances.

He also pointed out the additional good news on the council’s capital programme, which will enable the local authority to put more money towards some of its priorities, including highway maintenance.

Cllr Jones said: “Additional government grant for capital schemes will mean that we can put more money into road and pavement repairs – which people have told us is really important – plus support for the school academies programme in Hastings and Eastbourne to help raise educational standards, school building improvements and better broadband for the county.”

The average Band D council taxpayer’s bill for the county council’s services in the financial year 2011/12, will stay constant at £1,158.30.