Update on Thursday, December 10: Wealden councillors have agreed to consult on a proposal to freeze the district’s portion of Council Tax sought from residents in the year 2021/2.
The decision was made at a meeting of Cabinet yesterday.
Council leader Cllr Bob Standley said: “It has been a difficult year for everyone. Thanks to many years of careful financial management, we are able to meet next year’s extra costs from our reserves. This is the rainy day we have prepared for.
“I am pleased to propose that there will no increase in Wealden District Council’s part of Council Tax in 2021/22 which makes up approximately 10% of the total.
“As well as using our reserves, we will be following the Government’s recommendations on public sector pay. Naturally, councillors’ allowances will also be kept at current levels for 2021/22.
“I know that many households across the district have seen their incomes affected by the Covid pandemic. I hope this is one of a number of pieces of good news we can look forward to in 2021.”
“The Covid pandemic has increased the responsibilities for the council while at the same time reducing the amount of money we are able to earn from our many services. We have responded well. We have taken on new roles delivering financial support across the local economy and looking after those in our community in need of assistance.
“The additional costs of extra services, coupled with the loss of income from our own services, means we are some £500,000 out of pocket. We are hoping this gap will narrow further as further help from the Government becomes available.”
Uckfield News original story on Wednesday, December 9: Wealden Council could freeze its portion of Council Tax sought from residents in the year 2021/2.
And officers’ salaries – except for those earning less than £24,000 – and councillors’ allowances could be frozen too.
A £5 increase is recommended for each year from 2022-23.
The council’s cabinet is due to meet today (Wednesday, December 9) and is recommended to consult on these proposals before a budget is finalised in February.
Consultation will take place with the public, business associations, parish and town councils, Wealden Local Strategic Partnership and council staff.
But the recommendation goes against advice from the Corporate Management Team advice which wants to see a £5 Council Tax increase for the year 2021-22 too.
A report by council leader Cllr Bob Standley, and housing and benefits portfolio holder Cllr Ray Cade, says the council’s successful financial management to date has enabled the protection of core services for the people of Wealden,
At the same time it has been possible to redirect resources to the priority areas in the Corporate Plan and the Medium Term Financial Stragegy 2021-22 to 20215-26 builds on this approach.
• For the year 2020-21 Wealden Council increased its share of the council tax bill by 2.6%. This equated to an additional £5 a year for an average Band D property.
The overall tax bill for Wealden residents also includes precepts from East Sussex County Council, Sussex Police, East Sussex Fire & Rescue, and from town or parish councils.
The bill for Uckfield residents living in a Band D house was £2,150.66, an increase of £78.87 over the charge in 2019-20.
Wealden’s share of the overall council tax bill for 2020-21 was 9% and helps pay for refuse and recycling collections, planning, street cleaning, environmental protection, and free car parking.