West Sussex County Council has stated ‘it is too early in the budget process to be specific about council tax for 2014/15’ after the paper asked if the local authority would be raising the tax next year.
Research from the Local Government Chronicle, and publicised by the BBC yesterday, suggested ‘Conservative-run county councils are most likely to be considering a rise’.
However, a spokesperson for WSCC said: “The figure will not be set until the budget meeting next February. But residents will know that we have frozen the County Council element of their bill for three years running, and that we are doing all we can not to increase council tax which includes taking the Government’s incentives.
“We want to do all we can to help households combat the ever increasing cost of living.”
In response to a release by the TaxPayers’ Alliance advising on 201 ways local authorities could cut council tax, the spokesperson added: “As for the Taxpayers’ Alliance’s suggestions, many of these and more have been introduced by the County Council.
“We have made significant efficiency savings in many areas including the way we purchase goods and services, reducing offices and bureaucracy.
“In the last three years we had to reduce our spending by £79 million and 80 per-cent of that figure was achieved by efficiencies and new ways of working.
“We do have a facility that allows residents to report road faults by smartphone and in fact we have recently introduced grazing cattle at Fairmile Bottom, a site of special scientific interest because it is a traditional method of managing the land.”
However, WSCC must now find an additional £140 million worth of savings over the next few years, leading many to question if the council tax freeze is sustainable.
What do you think? Would you support a rise in council tax in order to preserve services?
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