Friday, 27 February 2015

Council Tax Frozen

Tax rises are a real burden for people on fixed incomes.
Good news Arun is freezing the council tax for a 6th year in succession, this can only be done because of prudent control of Council spending, But not many people realise that Arun only takes up 10% of the total Council tax, 80% goes to the County Council, about 8% to the Police Authority and the balance to parishes. Arun is the collecting authority on behalf of others so it appears they get all the money.

Arun is using some of it’s reserves to invest in a new Leisure Centre in Littlehampton, improvements to the Arun Leisure Centre and an upgrading of the existing Littlehampton sport & swimming centre’s changing rooms. There will be new parking ticket machines and Arun is investing £1m    into the new Lyminster Bypass, it’s building new Council Houses again, the first for 30 years and there is investment in the streetscape in Littlehampton and Bognor Regis as well as a number of Regeneration projects that will be decided on in the coming years.

All this is to be decided on in the Budget Council meeting on February the 24th, so when you read this the budget should be approved, it’s a budget for Growth and something that will underpin the local economy.

Arundel Town Council is investing £64k in their contribution towards the new flood defences which means increasing the precept by a total annual amount of £10 per annum, whilst any increase is difficult it is something I strongly support this as these new defences will give Arundel flood protection for the foreseeable future. I have to applaud the Town Council in taking this step as they have shown real leadership on their part. It is expected that Arun will invest about £96k and the County Council over £150k

Many of the parishes in the Arundel ward have followed Arun’s line in the last few years by not increasing their share of the Council Tax (Precept), which is something to be praised, but this is not the situation in Littlehampton and Bognor Regis where the town councils have been profligate in spending and increasing their precept to fund this, I am critical of the two Town Councils because they have continued to grow their own corporate and staff costs, whilst threatening to cut contributions to services like CCTV and Public Conveniences blaming Arun for a cutback in funding as their defence.

But Arun has reduced its staff base by 20% and taken cuts of 40% in it’s grants whilst until now Littlehampton Town Council and Bognor Regis Town Council have not experienced any austerity at all, whilst increasing their precept. UK Businesses have had to cut staff and costs as well as government, so it seems equitable that Littlehampton TC & Bognor Regis TC should do the same, Opposition Councillors argued that tax rises were good as it allowed them to maintain services, my argument is that we should do things differently, eg more for less which can be done if you approach the problem with a positive approach.  Arun District & Arundel Town Council can be held up as a good example of financial prudence... Until next month. Paul Dendle is Arundel Ward & Cabinet Member for Leisure & amenities on Arun District Council. His web address: www.Pauldendle.org email Pauldendle@aol.com

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