Council tax

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I would like to take this opportunity to correct a couple of inaccuracies in the article in last week’s paper in the article “county council looks to freeze tax for third year”.

Firstly, the article inaccurately reported that West Sussex County Council’s level of usable reserves is set to increase over the coming financial year from £200million to £215million.

In fact, our usable reserves of £215.5million as at March 31, 2013, is scheduled to fall to £17million by 31 March, 2014.

This is because a series of projects, for which we have set aside earmarked reserves, have come to fruition and will be paid for from those reserves.

The article also said that “government direction is likely to be obeyed” as the cabinet recommends a freeze to council tax for the coming year.

I would like to emphasise that our choice of recommendation to freeze council tax for the third year running is not a response to some government “dictat”.

We have done this because of our commitment to keep council tax rises to a minimum, recognising that this will help all households in West Sussex as we are all feeling the pinch in the current financial climate.

Taking into account inflation, by freezing council tax since 2011, the Government estimates this equates to a nine percent cut in council tax bills.

Michael Brown

Cabinet member for finance and resources

West Sussex County Council