Zero per cent tax rise in Seaford

Seaford Town Council offices
Seaford Town Council offices

Seaford Town Council has agreed a zero per cent rise in its council tax precept for residents this year (2015/16).

This means that the Band D payment made by residents to the town council will remain at £56.64 per annum, one of the lowest in the area for a large town council.

The zero per cent rise was made possible after the council successfully reclaimed £340,000 of VAT expended on the building of Seaford Head Golf Club.

Due to an administrative error, the town council said it did not opt to tax with the VAT office before construction began.

To reclaim the VAT you have to opt to tax with the VAT office - but because the council did not do this, it was advised by Inland Revenue that it could not reclaim.

But council officers overturned the decision after a belated submission of an option to tax.

A spokesman for the town council said: “Councillors, who are all volunteers and do not get paid for the many hours of public service they give, recently considered a draft budget presented to them.

“Councillors were advised at the meeting that officers had been successful in achieving agreement from the Inland Revenue to allow the council to reclaim the full £340,000 VAT expended on the building of the new golf club. This followed a VAT inspection from which an administrative error by a former employee was highlighted.

“Councillors were advised that this has resulted in ongoing investigation costs to the council, including many manpower hours to provide information to the Inland Revenue.

“Had the Inland Revenue not accepted the council’s retrospective submissions, the council would have been required to pay the full VAT of £340,000 incurred in construction costs and not reclaim it. The councillors congratulated the existing officers on rectifying this mistake and were able to reduce the need for contingencies within the budget.”

A council spokesman added: “Whilst the town council has a number of financial uncertainties at present, we are addressing these one by one and so far always to the benefit to the council and Seaford residents.”

The town council is still planning on progressing with the installation of a new iconic children’s play area at The Salts this year, utilising funds in the budget and funds secured from various past housing developments in the town, the town council spokesman said.