West Sussex County Council expected to freeze its share of council tax

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Residents across the county could see the West Sussex County Council portion of their council tax bill frozen for the fifth year running.

The council’s Performance and Finance Select Committee will meet on January 22 to scrutinise the authority’s proposed budget for 2015/16 – which is based around no increase to the county council’s precept.

That means that the average Band D householder could continue to pay £1,161.99 for county council services if the budget is recommended for approval by the committee. The final decision will be taken by West Sussex County Council’s Full Council in February.

The Performance and Finance Select Committee will look at the investments that will be made as part of the council’s half a billion pound operating budget for the next 12 months, as well as where the council will make £68million of savings over the next two years.

Key investments outlined in the budget include:

• £4m per year for the next two years to alleviate pressure on our adult services budget

• Multi million pound investment in high speed broadband capability across the county

• A further £15m in the Better Roads programme to improve many of the county’s residential and rural roads

• Significant investment in infrastructure improvements to ensure businesses can flourish

• Further investment in the Council’s Think Family programme which helps get out of work parents back to work and helps those families who need a little bit more support

The full agenda and budget papers, which outline where the savings will be made, are available to view online at www.westsussex.gov.uk

WSCC has seen its Government grant cut by £20.5million for 2015/16. And, over the last four years the authority has made savings totalling more than £100million.

Deborah Urquhart, committee chairman, said: “Local government is facing budget pressures like never before.

“This meeting will scrutinise the authority’s proposed budget and make recommendations ahead of the budget going to full council for a final decision in February.”

Michael Brown, cabinet member for finance, added: “I believe this is a budget to be really proud of. It’s a budget that keeps more money in people’s pockets by freezing council tax for another year and invests millions into West Sussex.

“Yes, we face unprecedented financial pressures and difficult decisions will have to be made but this budget focuses resources on the areas residents have told us are most important to them.”

The Performance and Finance Select Committee meeting will be held at County Hall in Chichester at 2pm on January 22 and is open to the members of the public.

Residents’ council tax bills are made up of contributions to West Sussex County Council, the district or borough council, a parish precept as well as to Sussex Police.