Update on 29 January 2016


Update on 29 January 2016

What people have told us this week and our answers to their questions.

Thank you to everyone who has taken part in the consultation, so far.

We have had responses from 200 residents and 2 businesses. 

You have another 17 days to have your say on the Council budget and the proposed Council Tax changes.

If you have already responded but having something to add then email consultations@rother.gov.uk

What people told us about the Council Tax

"Let the Council Tax Payer retain more of their money, they can then contribute towards the cost of organisations they support."

"You want us to pay more yet you are cutting services.  How about making sure you collect the Council Tax from the many who don't pay their bills.  People being given all the benefits under the sun (housing, unemployment, sickness) could also make a fairer contribution - it should not be all take + no give + they use the services as much as everybody else.

  • Note: The Council collects around 98.5% of the Council Tax that is owed each year.  Most of the remaining amount is chased and recovered.  Only a small proportion can't be recovered.  The Council has to balance the cost of chasing a debt against the amount owed and the chance of getting the money.  Everyone on the Council Tax reduction scheme has to pay a minimum of 20% of the Council Tax bill, regardless of how low their income might be.  It is true to say that those on the lowest incomes are likely to make more use of local authority services but then a lot of services were set up and exist to support vulnerable sectors of the population.  

"Keep Council tax increases in line with inflation.  If individuals receive no pay or pension increase, they cannot afford to increase Council Tax payments!  This just leads to families getting into debt...."

"My pay has either not gone up or only had 1% increase a year since 2008.  I am getting poorer by the year.  1.94% is a large increase to a single person on below average wage, who received no extra help.  You can't keep taking more when our salary does not increase!"

"I see that you have no other option but to raise council tax in view of central government cuts."

"Having read your webpage and on the evidence given, it seems reasonable to increase the Council Tax by 1.94%"

"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."

What people told us about their priorities.  Do you agree?

".... it is time that funds for local projects be diverted into regeneration including free parking in Mount St and Market Square with a longer term ambition of pedestrianising the High St, and prohibiting High St parking...."

"Reduce expenditure in the areas of conservation, as suggested earlier, decrease support to voluntary groups and cut anything which does not impact directly on every household."

"I do think the provision of public toilets should take precedence over flower beds...."

"It is important for the town that tourism in any form should not be discouraged and where possible encouraged...."

"First and foremost, it is important that the Council maintains a healthy forward-looking 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)...."

"....Wherever cuts in services are made some residents are affected.  Attempts must be made to protect the most vulnerable and those in most need of services."

"The most important task is to regenerate the South-East and lobby MP and Government to implement the improvement of ALL the A21 and ensure the rail service is enhanced and not curtailed in any way."

"Functions that are not of direct relevance to me, such as Housing Benefit, are nonetheless important to me insofar as I believe that these are necessary for the wellbeing of the community as a whole."

"Protection of the public in terms of health and safety and immediate response to sudden crises."

What people told us about service cuts they would be willing to see.  Do you agree?

"Your doorstep recycling is now really good - there is no need for bring sites..."

"For example, the planning process has become unwieldy and is much the same whether the application is for a new house or a replacement window.  To the extent permitted by law, resources should be concentrated on the major applications and a simplified process put in place for minor amendments."

"Do you really need to operate from Bexhill Town Hall, surely you could find cheaper accommodation.  What other assets have you got which you could sell off?"

"Increase revenue by not giving a reduction on council tax.  Stop providing low cost services etc. Stop subsidising sports events."

"Cut staff by 20%.  No pay increases above inflation. Reduce numbers of highly paid posts and make an effort to ensure maximum salary paid is no more than 5 times minimum...."

  • Note:  Staff pay was frozen from 2011 and went up by 1% in 2015.  The Council has cut post at all levels including management posts, up to and including the Chief Executive.

"Replace as many services as possible with online access"

"...decrease support to voluntary groups"

(Most people requested more services or more money spent in a particular area.)

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