Council tax rise approved by West Sussex County Council

Chichester's County Hall SUS-160818-125926001
Chichester's County Hall SUS-160818-125926001

A council tax rise of 4.95 per cent including the two per cent social care levy has been approved by the Tory-led West Sussex County Council.

The budget for 2018/19 which has had to fill a gap of £22.3m, was agreed by the authority which faces increased demand for services, higher costs and reduced funding from central Government.

Labour and Lib Dem amendments, including £750,000 to continue helping schools pay the apprenticeship levy, were both defeated.

The Lib Dems unsuccessfully proposed a further one per cent increase on the social care levy, taking the total council tax rise up to 5.95, to generate another £4.1m for care services, alongside plans for another £1.5m for high needs pupils.

Labour’s budget amendment included an extra £220,000 for the school counselling fund and £430,000 to tackling inequalities in Key Stage 2 results for English and maths.

The council originally assumed a 3.95 per cent precept increase for 2018/19 last year but is has taken advantage of the Government offer to increase bills by another percentage point to 4.95 per cent.

This extra money have allowed the authority spend £2.5m in new one-off investments.

These include £600,000 to tackle homelessness by developing options for temporary accommodation, £800,000 for infrastructure feasibility to develop schemes to bid for new Government, £500,000 for a white line and signage road programme, £200,000 to accelerate the installation of solar panels, £100,000 to top up a hardship funding to help residents in financial difficulties with their council tax and £100,000 redevelop a programme to engage with volunteers.

More to follow.