Budget Consultation

Status: Awaiting Results

This consultation has now closed. Thank you for taking the time to take part in our consultation on the Council’s budget and Council Tax for the 2022/23 financial year.

Rother District Council have some big decisions ahead and we would value your views before we set this year’s budget and Council Tax and define our longer-term financial strategy.

Priorities

The Council set itself a number of ambitious objectives through its Corporate Plan and has already achieved some and is well on the way to delivering on all of them.  The objectives and what expect to achieve by 2023 are:

  • CLIMATE EMERGENCY To establish and deliver a plan to ensure Rother District Council is carbon neutral by 2030.
    BY 2023 WE AIM TO:
    • Have developed our Green Asset Management Plan
    • Have developed our strategy for supporting the move to electric vehicles
    • Have established the Council’s carbon footprint baseline and developed plans to decrease it
  • FINANCIAL STABILITY To rectify the financial deficit and bring the Council to a secure financial footing by the end of 2025/26.
    BY 2023 WE AIM TO:
    • Generate an extra £480,000 of income and savings each year through a combination of providing additional services and reducing our costs.
    • A reduction in our costs of £1.6m through our protecting discretionary services strategy
  • INCREASE THE SUPPLY OF AFFORDABLE HOMES THROUGHOUT THE DISTRICT To deliver 400 affordable rent homes by end 2023.
    BY 2023 WE AIM TO:
    • Continue to work with our communities to maximise our supply of affordable rented housing
    • Start on site with the first Rother District Council’s Housing Company scheme in 2022. The award-winning Blackfriars development in Battle will deliver 46 affordable rented homes for local people
    • See Rothers very first community led housing scheme under development in Icklesham
  • HOUSING LIST REDUCTION To reduce the Rother Housing list from 1,600 (as at December 2019) to 1,200 by the end of 2023.
    BY 2023 WE AIM TO:
    • Prevent and relieve more homelessness by securing 100 new private sector tenancies annually.
    • Increase supported housing options for homeless households by delivering 50 new units of supported temporary accommodation.
    • Reassess all applicants against the new Housing Allocations Policy.
  • HOUSING To bring Rother above a 5-year land supply by the end of 2023.
    BY 2023 WE AIM TO:
    • Be nearing the completion of our new Planning Local Plan (2039) which will identify where development in Rother will take place.
  • EMPOWERED ORGANISATION To create an organisational structure that allows for a clearer, more effective resident focused organisation by the end of 2023.
    BY 2023 WE AIM TO:
    • Have implemented our new staffing structure to better place the community at the heart of everything we do.
    • Have upgraded our technology to deliver greater levels of service to our community and create capacity for our staff to deliver more.
    • Have developed our new Customer Service Strategy and delivery plan
  • A FAIRER SOCIETY To build a fairer society by promoting acceptance and equality in the District, developing an Anti-Poverty Strategy to improve existing support services and identifying new ways of working in collaboration with the voluntary sector to reduce poverty and hardship within the District.
    BY 2023 WE AIM TO:
    • Introduce changes to the Council’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme to help those who are self employed from April 2022.
    • Have started delivering the ambitions of the multi-agency Council led Anti Poverty Strategy
    • Have started Construction of new Doctors surgery in Little Common and enabled another new Doctors surgery in Beeching Road, Bexhill
    • Have enabled a new NHS mental health unit to be developed in the East of Bexhill
  • DEVELOPMENT OF ROTHER’S ECONOMY To lift the average indexed wage in the Rother District from the bottom of the national league table by the end of 2023.
    BY 2023 WE AIM TO:
    • Deliver new employment space in Beeching Road Bexhill for the Creative Arts industry
    • Have started construction of new employment space at Barnhorn Green in Little Common
  • AN OPEN COUNCIL To improve access to Council meetings, ensuring increased transparency, meaningful consultation and better visibility by the end of 2023.
    ACHIEVED BY:
    • Transforming our approach to customer service through the implementation of a new strategic programme to put the customers at the heart of everything we do.
    • A new audio / visual system has been fitted in the Council Chamber to enable improved live streaming of all formal council meetings from December 2021
    • The capability to run hybrid meetings with some participants joining remotely from home thus reducing travel costs and the carbon footprint
    • Implementing changes to the Council’s constitution and bringing it up to date
  • A TOWN COUNCIL FOR BEXHILL-ON-SEA To form a Parish (Town) Council for Bexhill with effect from 1 April 2021 with the first elections in May 2021.
    ACHIEVED BY:
    • A new town council for Bexhill was legally created on the 1 April 2021 and their first elections were held in May 2021. Their first meeting was held on 19 May 2021.

The Financial Challenge

Next year, we anticipate that Rother District Council (RDC) will spend over £16m on essential services for the people of Rother.  This is a substantial amount of money, but it doesn’t go as far as we would like.

Just like households across Rother, we have to make difficult choices about where we spend, and where to make savings. 

Further information on how Rother spends its money, and where it gets its money from can be found using the link below.

RDC has a track record of strong financial management delivering significant financial savings over the past 11 years. Despite this RDC has, like other councils, faced financial pressure for a number of years because:

  • More people need our services and support each year; and
  • The costs of providing services is increasing because of higher inflation – e.g. Waste Collection and Street Cleansing contract
  • The Government has reduced in real terms the amount of funding we receive and has further delayed the local government spending review increasing the uncertainty over our finances.

By far the greatest source of income we have is Council Tax. If our local economy suffers this will impact on our financial sustainability. Increasing unemployment could reduce residents’ ability to pay council tax and in turn our ability to fund services.  If the Council Tax income falls by just 1%, this would equate to a loss of c. £75,000 to Rother for the year. This also means that our partners, East Sussex County Council, the Fire Service and the Police may also see a reduction in their income. A 1% reduction would reduce their income by £760,000. If unemployment increased we would see an increase in demand for our housing service from residents struggling to pay their rent or mortgage

There are some big decisions ahead and we would value your views before we set next year’s budget and define our longer-term financial strategy.

How to Take Part in this Consultation

This consultation closed on Monday 31st January 2022