Councillors protest about possible cuts

CONCERNED members of Bersted Parish Council have issued a hands off warning for their money.

The councillors face having £15,000 cut from their income from Arun District Council axed next April. But they have told Arun the move would wreck their activities.

Clerk Fiona Dobbs said: “To lose £15,000 would be a cut of 15 per cent of our budget. It would have a dramatic effect on what we could achieve in the parish.”

The axe could fall on the income because Arun is consulting about the amount of grant support subsidy it should pay to parish and town councils.

This amount used to be included in one package of funding but has now been divided from the local income raised from residents because it comes from the government.

Arun has given the councils six options to consider, from cutting all the money at once to no change.

Mrs Dobbs will reply with another option – of keeping the subsidy the same while the government grant stays the same.

She said she had spoken to the surrounding councils and they all wanted to put on a united front.

Some, though, have not yet made a formal decision to do that.

Martin Lury, the parish council’s deputy chairman, said: “How dare Arun try to do this. They are always saying we are important but then they are cutting off our life support.”

Cllr Gez Watson said: “It may not be realistic to say the money should be kept the same. But, if all the parishes say that, it will put pressure on Arun not to reduce it.”

Cllr Peter Allsopp said Arun was getting government money for each new home being built.

“You can see why the councils are hell-bent on having as many houses built as they can.”