Council tax rise for Chichester district households approved

Chichester District Council has agreed to raise Band D council tax by £5 and take £2.1m from reserves to balance its 2021/22 budget.

During a meeting of the full council on Tuesday (March 2), Peter Wilding, cabinet member for finance, said the need to use reserves ‘for the first time in many years’ was a direct result of the pandemic.

He added that, with managers unable to estimate their incomes for the next year with any accuracy, this budget was ‘less certain than any other that has preceded it’. 

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A report to the meeting showed that much of the problem lay with the loss of income from car parking and the leisure management contract, which fell short by £1.22m and £632,000 respectively.

East Pallant House, Chichester. Pic Steve Robards SR2007221 SUS-200722-111704001

The money to plug the gap in the budget will come from the £8m taken from reserves in July to cover the cost of the pandemic.

Mr Wilding told the meeting that current projections showed that £2.7m would be spent before April.

He felt that this, on top of the £2.1m used to balance the budget, would leave enough to meet any shortfall for five years without having to draw on more reserves.

The £5 council tax rise – the maximum allowed – will take the district’s proportion of the Band D bill from £165.81 to £170.81 for the year.

This, on top of the Police & Crime Commissioner’s £15 increase and West Sussex County Council’s rise of £71.82, means the average Band D bill will rise by more than £91 in April.