Council tax rise agreed by Worthing Borough Council after five-year freeze

W03046H14-TownHall''Worthing Town Hall     Adur and Worthing  district council  Chapel Road   Worthing ENGSUS00120140115173716
W03046H14-TownHall''Worthing Town Hall Adur and Worthing district council Chapel Road Worthing ENGSUS00120140115173716

AN EXTRA £4.23 is set to be added to the yearly council tax bill for Worthing’s Band D households from April.

Worthing Borough Council’s executive agreed to the 1.96 per cent increase on Tuesday night, which equates to around 8p a week for a Band D property, on top of rises proposed by Sussex Police and West Sussex County Council.

Worthing Borough Council leader Daniel Humphreys

Worthing Borough Council leader Daniel Humphreys

This follows five years of council tax freezes by the authority, but the Revenue Support Grant it receives from central Government is being heavily reduced and is expected to disappear by 2019/2020.

Mark Nolan, Worthing Borough council’s executive member for resources, said: “This is about ensuring a balanced budget and ensuring value for money for local tax payers.”

He explained they were looking at other ways of generating income apart from council tax, and had a strategy in place ‘to build a sound financial footing for this authority’.

Council leader Daniel Humphreys said that when the last council tax rise in Worthing was announced in 2010, a 2.5 per cent increase was seen as something ‘quite astonishing’, given the rate of increases under 13 years of a Labour Government.

He said if Conservatives had gone to the electorate in April 2010 promising five years of council tax freezes ‘people would not have taken that credibly’.

If on top of freezing council tax they would have promised to keep essential services going, take back control of Worthing town centre’s car parks, keep the theatre venues open and improve them, keep leisure centres open and build a new one, he suggested they might have been ‘wrapped up in straitjackets and taken away’.

Mr Humphreys added: “It’s a real record of success.”

He argued that all Conservative councillors could be ‘proud of this achievement’ and said their duty was to make sure there was stability and security going forward.

Officers explained that some local authorities had received a transition grant from central Government, something that was announced earlier this week. Worthing Borough Council’s share is £99,000, which would replace plans to take money out of reserves.

When the council consulted on a possible council tax increase, 63.2 per cent of respondents voted in favour of a ‘small increase which will help the councils to protect priority services’, while 36.3 per cent preferred to freeze council tax and potentially reduce services.

The county council’s increase is set to cost Band D tax payers an extra £45.90 a year while the rise by Sussex Police will add another £5 to the average bill.

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