ARUN District Council has pledged to be ‘ever-more efficient’ in the way it spends public money after it confirmed plans to freeze tax for the fourth year in a row.
Councillors have been recommended to approve a council tax freeze at a meeting being held next Wednesday.
This means Band D council tax would remain at £161.37 per year.
Mrs Brown said: “I am pleased that, despite all of the difficulties and the acute financial pressures on the council, we are in a position to confirm that there will be no council tax increase again in 2014/15, which means that residents will be paying the same as they did four years ago. “It sends a clear message that this council continues to do all it can to be ever more efficient and protect our front-line services and continue to live within our financial means for the benefit of our residents.
“Although the council continues to face further financial pressures and significant reductions
in funding from central Government, we have a clear commitment to work hard to make sure
that the council remains in a strong, financially stable position. This allows us to deliver all
of our services for next year at just over £3 a week for a band D property and continues to
demonstrate that Arun District Council provides excellent value for money services.”
The decision was largely welcomed by the Gazette’s readers on Facebook, who pointed to the need for Arun to be more efficient in the way it spent money.
However, the tax freeze was criticised by Arun’s opposition leader and newly-confirmed parliamentary candidate for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, Francis Oppler.
He said the move was politically, rather than financially, motivated.
He said: “While any tax reduction is, on the surface, welcome, and residents over the many years have been put under huge pressure by council tax, this is a Conservative short-term fix.
“We will be in a worse position than four years ago. In practice, it will negatively affect our vital services. Many councils are rejecting tax freezes because services are more important than saving a few pounds a year. I would like Mrs Brown to explain how we will make up the shortfall when the freeze grant finishes.”