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.

People 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.

Residents will also be asked to say which services and local issues should be prioritised as the council sets next year’s budget and the district’s longer-term financial strategy.

Cllr Kevin Dixon, Cabinet member for Finance and Performance Management, said: “The ending of the central government Revenue Support Grant coupled with rising costs has meant the council has faced increasing financial pressures in recent years, despite strong financial management and continuing to deliver savings.

“Next year we anticipate spending nearly £17million 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.

“We face difficult decisions about where to spend and where to save, and therefore we are particularly keen to learn which issues are a priority for our residents.”

The district council has incurred additional costs in recent months because of the coronavirus pandemic and expects to face further demands on its finances next year due to the ongoing impact of the virus on the local economy and communities.

The council’s budget proposals include increasing Council Tax by either two per cent or up to the referendum limit the government allows, and using up to £4.5million from its reserves to help plug its funding gap.

Raising Council Tax by two per cent would see the council’s portion of the Council Tax bill for a band D property increase by £3 to just over £187 a year. However, increasing unemployment due to the impact of Covid-19 may mean less people are able to pay their Council Tax, directly affecting the amount of money the council receives.    

The council expects additional funding pressures to come from changes in the way business rates are distributed by central Government and a possible reduction in grants given to councils for building new homes.

Cllr Dixon added: “I would encourage residents to take part in the consultation and help us understand what is important to them.  The feedback will help us set a budget that takes into account the needs of our community.”

People can take part in the consultation by visiting https://www.rother.gov.uk/consultations/budget-2021-22-consultation/. The consultation runs until 12noon on Monday, January 18, 2021.

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

Published: 1st December 2020