West Sussex households facing another council tax rise

Council tax bill
Council tax bill

West Sussex households are facing the prospect of another council tax rise from April.

Last February, West Sussex County Council voted to increase its precept by 4.99 per cent, adding another £65 on to the county’s portion of a Band D bill.

Another £24 was added on top of that for Sussex Police along with smaller increases from the county’s district and borough councils.

As Government funding has been slashed for WSCC alongside a growth in demand for services, it has been forced to look to other areas for funding, with council tax being one of the obvious revenue-raising options.

As part of its proposed budget for 2020/21, the authority is seeking a 3.99 per cent increase.

This would mean an extra £55.20 a year up from £1,383.57 to £1,438.74 for a Band D property.

Any increases proposed by district and borough councils as well as Sussex Police would go on top.

The county council froze its element of council tax for six years from 2010-2015, but this would be the fifth straight year it has gone an increase.

A final decision on the budget will be made by all councillors in mid February, but a draft will be discussed by the performance and finance scrutiny committee on Wednesday (January 22).

The committee papers show how extra funding is proposed for both younger and older residents in West Sussex.

An extra £32million is set to be spent on children and young people including £12.4m for demand growth and £12m for the children first improvement programme following the ‘inadequate’ rating from Ofsted last year.

Meanwhile for adults and health the funding growth is £10.3million.

According to officers: “The county council continues to focus on the areas which will make the biggest difference to the lives of its residents and the future prosperity of the county. To have a realistic chance of achieving these ambitious objectives in the context of the continuing low levels of public finances, as well as meeting the growing demand of our statutory responsibilities, we propose a core council tax rise of 1.99 per cent plus an additional two per cent adult social care precept, giving a proposed total council tax rise of 3.99 per cent for 2020/21.”

The council is also set to approve a five year capital programme next month, with a total value of £712.3million.

This comprises £551.0m for the core programme and £161.3m of income generating initiatives.

The total borrowing to finance the core and IGI capital programme is £406m.