West Sussex councillors to vote on frozen council tax rates

THE draft budget for West Sussex will be presented to county councillors tomorrow (Friday, February 15).

At a full meeting of the council, members will be presented with the revenue budget and capital programme for 2013/14 to 2016/17.

In a report, set to be presented to members, officers said: “The proposed budget is set against the background not only of large and ongoing reduction in public spending, but also the introduction of a new and more volatile local government funding regime.

“The county council has responded to this through its Future Council programme.

“The underlying principle is that of the county council primarily as a commissioner of services, with delivery from directly employed staff only where it is most cost effective to do so.

“Services may instead be delivered by the private sector, arm’s length arrangement or the voluntary sector.”

The report also sets out the results of public consultation on the budget.

Areas chosen by the public for more spending were: roads, education, caring for children, libraries/records/archives, supporting families and businesses. The public wanted to see less spending on caring for the elderly, the living environment, wellbeing ,safer communities and building ‘strong and vibrant’ communities.

The report also includes a summary of revenue budget and precepts.

It shows service expenditure increasing from £512,556,000 in 2012/13 to £547,432,000 in 2013/14.

The biggest chunk of the money is £199,238,000 allocated for health and adults services – an increase of £17,499,000 on the previous year.

The department of health has announced it will be providing the council with grant support of £11,824,000 in 2013/14 under the banner of NHS Social Care funding.

The second biggest allocation is for communities, environment and enterprise.

The allocation is £90,855,000 – up £3,033,000 from £181739,000 in 2012/13.

Total net expenditure, including non-service totals, is set to rise by £31,802,000 to £534,985,000.

However, with grants including the Local Council Tax Transition Grant and the New Homes Bonus, the total precept is set to fall to £349,341,000 from £382,675. The amount per council tax payer (band D equivalent) remains at £1,161.99.

Members will be asked to approve the budget at the meeting, held at County Hall, Chichester, from 10.30am tomorrow.

They are expected to approve a nought per cent increase in council tax.