Update: 22 January 2016

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Update: 22 January 2016

What people have told us and more information

Thank you to the residents and businesses that have responded so far. 

We had submissions from about 60 residents and two businesses by the end of the first week.

Invitations to consult were sent to:

  • all parish and town councils in Rother
  • local organisations that represent groups of businesses, i.e. Chambers of Commerce
  • the stakeholder organisations in the Rother Local Strategic Partnership, which includes the public and voluntary sectors
  • more than 23,000 Rother residents

Printed copies of the survey form can be picked up in the Community Help Points in Battle, Bexhill and Rye and handed in to them.

More Information

Some people have said things that suggest we might need to give more information to help the debate.

  • Council Tax bands  - lower what bands A and B pay, raise what bands above D pay, add one or more higher bands, review bands 

    • This is not in the Council's control.  Council Tax bands are decided by central Government.  The Council cannot change the proportion of charges in each band and we have no power to add more top level bands.  The Government have previously deferred making changes to bandings or carrying out a full property revaluation.  We have no information to suggest that they are reviewing this decision any time soon.

  • RDC should charge the permitted additional 2% for social care 

    • The permission to add 2% for social care was given to Councils with social care responsibilities, which in our area is East Sussex County Council.  The County Council are proposing to add this additional 2% to their Council Tax increase for next year.  Rother District Council has no power to add 2% for social care because it does not provide any qualifying services.

  • "Community awards are unnecessary... volunteers do not need to be rewarded." 

    • We believe this refers to the Community Grant Scheme - go to Community Grant Scheme updates for a video about what the grant scheme is and does and a list of all awarded grants.  The scheme does not give money to volunteers for volunteering.  It gives money to projects that benefit local residents, like improving village halls or playgrounds.

  • How can you afford capital projects like East Parade when you are cutting revenue spend on services? 

    • Within local government, monies that are for capital purposes cannot legally be used to meet the day-to-day cost of running services. The majority of capital monies are from the proceeds of the sale of assets (land and property) or capital grants from organisations such as the Heritage Lottery. In addition, we can borrow money to fund capital expenditure but currently the Council hasn't had to do so.

      We are spending a small amount of our capital funds as match funding to lever in money from other grant sources.  In this case, about £50,000 of the Council's money will be used to help get a Heritage Lottery Fund bid of nearly £1 million.  The same thing applies to the most of the other projects in the Corporate Plan, in that they will have to be funded from other sources. 

 

  • "If RDC can maintain its services with less than a 2% rise in Council Tax"  and  "it is far better to raise by this small amount than cut services"
  • It is not possible to make such a promise.  The additional money raised will go towards helping to bridge the £800,000 funding gap but it will not meet the entire shortfall.  The remaining money must be found and the Council will be making more detailed proposals later in the year.
  • Raise the Council Tax more than 2%
  • The Government caps all Council Tax rises at 2% this year.  Councils that want to raise Council Tax 2% or more must go to a public referendum.  This is expensive.  It is like holding an election with polling stations, ballot papers, etc.  Rother District Council has already said it doesn't want to hold a referendum.

What some people want the Council to take into account

Here is a selection of quotes from answers that we have received so far.  Do you agree, disagree or have something else to add?

"Please take into account that those who already pay the full amount and do not get any discount (even on a Band A property) are paying at least £99 per month in Council Tax, which if one is a low earner but not low enough to get a discount, that's already a lot to have to pay as it is! Our household is just about scraping by with one person working and the other unable to currently as Disabled and long term and complex health issues..."

"Many people paying the council tax also work for the public sector, so are having their hours/pay cut. No doubt every other area of the council tax will increase too. It is getting harder for people who are not in receipt of benefits and own their own homes to cover outgoings, yet are not eligible for reductions or funding from other sources. Whilst many people are happy to contribute to keep Rother functioning well, many people (like me) live month to month - where is this extra income to pay for increases going to come from?"

"I'm not a big user of the services offered but I think public conveniences remain an important facility for all the population."

"First and foremost, it is important that the Council maintains a healthy forward-going housing programme for all who require assisted housing. To this end the Council should do its utmost to ensure adequate and secure accommodation before other considerations. Homelessness leads to further problems and costs to the Council; secure homes for all would benefit not only those who require it but would lead to better lifestyles and prosperity and ultimately a healthier population (to say nothing of the ultimate revenue prospects that could be enjoyed by the Council)."

"The need to make savings in the light of reductions in central government grants is appreciated. Wherever cuts in service are made some residents are affected. Attempts must be made to protect the most vulnerable and those in most need of services."

"Supporting Bexhill in Bloom and as Bexhill has been the overall winner in the Coastal Category in South East in Bloom, we must be doing something right which needs to be maintained. It is a proven fact that Floral displays around towns encourages Tourism, is better for the environment and is more attractive for Resident and Traders alike."

"Stick to core activities which is to provide essential services."

"Rother residents depend on quality services. Since the council has not increased council tax for some years this has clearly affected local services. Whilst I am in agreement with the modest increase proposed I would like to see a higher figure to provide a buffer and maybe reinstate some of the services which have been lost."

"With the increase in development associated with the Link Road, more people are going to be employed (therefore more local spending), more businesses will be paying business tax accruing to the Council, so the area will gradually become richer, also hopefully many more houses will be built increasing the Council Tax take. I think we can afford an extra 2.5% on the Council Tax, given the arrangements for the genuinely poor to be subsidised."

"Sustainable support to arts and culture in the region."

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