Have your say on Rother District Council’s budget plans

RESIDENTS in Rother are being encouraged to have their say on next year’s budget plans as the council faces continued financial pressures.

Local people and businesses are being asked to give their views via the annual budget consultation on how they would like the council to respond amid increasing demands on its finances.

High inflation and rising costs, coupled with central government funding reductions, means that Rother District Council faces a £3.8 million pound shortfall in its budget for 2024/25.

With uncertainty about how local government will be funded in the future, the council is aiming to cover the shortfall in a variety of ways including sharing services, increasing income, and saving money on back-office services.

However, given the predicted budget shortfall over the next financial year the authority will have to change the way it delivers, or even stop, some of its discretionary services.

Cllr Doug Oliver, Leader of Rother District Council, said: “We face an extremely tough situation with a £3.8m shortfall next year.  As with councils up and down the country, our revenue budget, or everyday spend, is coming under increasing pressure.

“Just to give residents an idea, our spending on homelessness and temporary accommodation has more than tripled over the last four years to £2m, or 11 per cent of our net revenue budget.”

The Council’s budget proposals include increasing council tax by 2.99 per cent and increasing the fees and charges for the majority of council services by 6.8 per cent, which is in line with current inflation levels.

Raising council tax by 2.99 per cent would see the authority’s portion of the council tax bill for a Band D property increase by £5.94 to £204.54 a year and provide £300,000 towards the budget shortfall.

Cllr Oliver continued: “We do recognise that our residents are facing their own challenges as the cost-of-living crisis continues and people face mortgage pressures and difficulties meeting day to day living expenses.

“But it is worth noting that less than 9p in every £1 residents pay in council tax goes towards Rother District Council services, with the rest going to East Sussex County Council, the Sussex Police Crime Commissioner, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service and the Town and Parish Councils.

He added: “Our task is to continue to provide the services our residents want and balancing the books. This is where our residents can help by giving their views via our consultation as we work towards setting a budget in February next year.”

People can take part in the consultation by visiting www.rother.gov.uk/budget24. The consultation runs until Sunday, December 17.

The results of the consultation will be considered when the final budget proposals are debated by cabinet and full council in February.

Published: 10th November 2023

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