Crawley council to spend £7m on property and use rent to fund services

Crawley council is to spend £7m on ‘investment properties’ and use the rent to help fund council services.

Cllr Peter Lamb
Cllr Peter Lamb

Crawley Borough Council’s budget for 2019/20 was approved at a meeting of Full Council on Wednesday (February 27).

It includes:

* £7 million to purchase investment properties. The rental income generated from these will be used to help fund council services

* More than £9m over three years for repairs to council homes

* The creation of a new ring-fenced ‘Supported Accommodation’ reserve to combat homelessness, funded from additional Housing Benefit subsidy paid to the council on behalf of residents in supported accommodation

* The purchase of a housing development in Broadfield

* A new integrated housing database to replace the council’s outdated systems

* An ICT transformation programme

A council spokesman said: “Crawley will suffer a further 89.7 per cent cut in revenue support from the Government over the next year. The reduction in funding since 2016/17 is £1.72m.

“Despite this, the council has identified additional income, efficiencies and savings of £1.26m, meaning that the council’s element of council tax will rise by just 2.49 per cent, the equivalent of only 9p per week for a band D property.”

See also:

West Sussex County Council has agreed a rise of 4.99 per cent (£65.79 on a band D property) and the precept for the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner will rise by 14.47 per cent (£24 on a band D property).

For every pound paid in council tax, West Sussex County Council will receive 77.8p, Sussex Police, 10.7p, and Crawley Borough Council, 11.5p.

Councillor Peter Lamb, leader of Crawley Borough Council, said: “Local services used to be paid from income tax, meaning those who earned more paid more. Due to government cuts to council and police funding, funding for these services increasingly comes from Council Tax which tends to hit pensioners and poorer residents hardest.

“While Crawley Borough Council is responsible for collecting all your Council Tax, more than 88 per cent of it goes to West Sussex County Council or Sussex Police. We’ve worked hard to ensure that Crawley Borough Council’s part of the bill is kept roughly in line with inflation, meaning that the ‘real terms’ increase this year comes exclusively from West Sussex and the police.

“I’m proud to say that despite cuts from central government, we continue to spend the same on services today as when I became leader, we are probably the only council in the country able to say that.”