From the leader – January 14, 2022

I’d like to wish you all a healthy and happy 2022 and hope for a more positive year ahead.

For Rother District Council, the new year marks the start of our budget setting process and discussions about how best to spend our £16million plus budget on those services that residents rely.

While our 2022-23 budget seems substantial, this amount of money doesn’t allow us to go as far as we would like and we have to make difficult decisions about where to focus our resources.

Like most councils in the UK, we have to strike the right balance that allows us to meet an increasing demand for services amid rising costs and ever decreasing grants from Central Government.  At the same time we want to make sure we do not overburden residents by increasing council tax more than we need to.

It’s a very difficult balancing act and presents councillors with some of the hardest decisions they have to make.

To make sure the priorities we set reflect those of our residents, I would encourage as many residents as possible to help us get the balance right by taking part in a consultation at www.rother.gov.uk/consultations/budget-consultation/ This closes on January 24.

As ever, the final decision on Rother District Council’s budget will be made by Full Council in February.

Back in September 2020, the district council adopted the Rother Environment Strategy and work has taken place since to get us on track to reach our ultimate target of becoming a carbon neutral authority by 2030.

There is a lot we can do relatively quickly to reduce our carbon footprint, but to achieve our ambitious target we will need to look extremely closely at every aspect of the council’s work.  To help us focus our efforts, my Cabinet colleagues and I agreed on Monday how we would set our ‘Carbon Baseline’ from which we will be able to measure our success and inform the council’s activities.

There is a long way to go, but this decision will make sure that the measures we put in place will continue to steer us in the right direction.

I was proud to see over the Christmas period that Rother had one of the highest take-up rates of the Covid booster jab in Sussex, although there are still many who have not been vaccinated.

Last year showed us that Covid had not gone away and the new variant is still causing significantly more infections.  The vaccination programme is necessary not only to protect ourselves, but those in our communities at risk of becoming seriously ill or losing their life from the virus. 

We all share a common desire for life to get back to normal and I would encourage people to get vaccinated, so we get their quickly.

Ends.

Published: 17th January 2022