Our regular Saturday columnist Observer ‘reads the runes’ over next year’s council tax.
Make no mistake, you will be paying more council tax – and getting less for it – in the next financial year (2018/19).
Indications of likely rises are coming in but the ‘big gun’ (East Sussex County Council) has yet to fire.
Although only one council tax bill drops through your letterbox, the total amount you pay is shared five ways: the county, district and town (parish for those you in villages) councils, plus Sussex Police and East Sussex Fire and Rescue.
What we know so far
Wealden District Council’s Cabinet is recommending a council tax increase of £5 a year for Band D properties, with proportional increases for other bands.
Uckfield Town Council is looking at increasing the Band D tax by up to £4 a year but it will probably be a bit less than that.
Sussex Police (along with other police forces) has had the precept “cap” lifted by the government and the police and crime commissioner finished a consultation yesterday (January 5) where she asked if people would pay more.
The Chief Constable has said he is working on the basis for a £5 increase for Band D householders.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue: I find the authority’s website a muddle and couldn’t see any information about council tax for the coming year. If you can, please let me know.
East Sussex County Council: This is the big one. Its share of the council tax is roughly 70 per cent.
Again, I can find no word of what actual increase is in mind. However, the county council’s financial woes in recent years have been well detailed and if anything, its position will have worsened.
The consultation on closing many public libraries (not Uckfield) shows the direction of travel.
Why the squeeze?
Councils (and the Police/Fire) across the country have seen, and continue to see, reductions in funding from central government.
It has led to cuts in spending and the councils are able to do less, while still putting up the council tax.
The real bind for councils, at a time when there is little or no wage growth, is that the more they take in council tax, the less people have to spend in the local economy.
That will impact on shops and businesses as people tighten their belts.
Other price rises
Other price rises have already kicked in this year. Rail fares are a case in point. Passengers are paying more, the government less and the Uckfield Line service remains poor; diabolical this week.
Most Uckfield commuters will have less money to spend, as a result.
So, expect this:
You will pay more council tax for services which will deteriorate.
What’s to be done?
Well, I have some thoughts. That’s for next week but, in the meantime, tell me what you think via the UckfieldNews.com Facebook page.
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