Hastings Borough Council to enforce maximum council tax rise

Published on by Oli Birch (author), Cydnee Holder (author)

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Hastings Borough council have announced they will be increasing their overall council tax bill by 1.99%, the maximum rise which is allowed.

The council has been plagued for years by cuts to their government grants, with 54% cut since 2010 and the council facing further reductions in the budget over the next four years. 

But council leader Peter Chowney downplayed the increase in tax, suggesting that they have continued to do their best to safeguard those most at risk.

'(The rise) amounts to around 8p a week for a band D property. We are continuing to protect the most vulnerable residents in our town by maintaining our existing council tax discount scheme, unlike many other local councils who are requiring all working age residents to pay a portion of council tax regardless of their income.'

Hastings Borough council are facing increased pressures from national insurance costs, pensions as well as reductions in core grants such as the 'new homes bonus' and the money they receive to manage housing benefits. And Councillor Chowney suggested that the task of balancing the books is likely to be increasingly difficult in the next few years, with uncertainty over what is yet to come.

“Although I am delighted that I am not having to announce further major cuts to jobs and services this year, the cuts in government grant we're facing mean we will have to work hard over the next year to find different, more cost effective ways to provide services, for example by enabling more service applications to be made online.

"Next year will be different, we will have big savings to make, but I have no idea what they'll be yet."

The council will be considering all comments on proposals until the 12th February with a final decision on the 2016/17 budget scheduled for the 24th of February.

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