Chichester council balances its budget and recommends council tax increase

Chichester District Council has balanced its budget for 2024/25 without having to draw on its reserves.
Council TaxCouncil Tax
Council Tax

The situation was discussed during a meeting of the cabinet on Tuesday (February 6) where an increase in council tax of 2.99 per cent was recommended.

Should the change be approved by the full council on February 27, it will see the council’s portion of the average Band D bill rise by £5.41 to £186.48 for the year.

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The budget includes a number of items aimed at helping people through the cost of living crisis.

There will be £210,000 for the Supporting You team, which helps people with issues such as budgeting and gives advice on debt, employment and health and wellbeing.

Another £100,000 will be added to the discretionary housing payments pot to help those most in need with their rent.

There was also a boost for the council’s green responsibilities.

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The growth and sustainability operational budget, which helps businesses to reduce their carbon footprints, will receive £100,000 plus £58,800 to pay for an officer.

And the biodiversity strategy and such ongoing work will benefit by £35,000.

Mark Chilton, cabinet member for finance, said: “These proposals are linked to our corporate plan objectives and ensure the budget proposed is compassionate for those most in need in our community and protecting our environment in line with our key financial principles.

“The spending plans are robust and sustainable.”

The budget also includes £10,000 to pay for a Think Family support worker at Bourne Community College until August.

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The Think Family initiative provides support for those in need, including the children of military personnel and gypsy and traveller families.

After August, the funding was due to end.

But cabinet members accepted an amendment from deputy leader Jonathan Brown that the budget should include £22,500 – £15,000 in 2024/25 and £7,500 in 2025/26 – to continue the initiative, with the school plugging the funding gap.

This would allow Think Family to continue for another two academic years, starting in September.

Overall, the council’s net budget requirement for 2024/25 stands at £17,618,700 and there is a surplus of £609,000 in the general fund reserve.

Leader Adrian Moss said: “This is a really strong budget that we should be really proud of.”