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Council tax may be frozen again in West Sussex
A council tax freeze is being considered for thousands of people in West Sussex.
County councillors will be discussing “a strong direction of travel” towards keeping the bill as it is for the third year in a row when they meet next week.
Chancellor George Osborne recently announced there would be Government support for a tax freeze in 2013/14.
However, a report going before the council’s policy and resources select committee on Wednesday says there is still significant uncertainty in funding levels for the year ahead.
The full implications will not become clear until mid-December when the local authority grant settlement is expected to be announced by the government.
Committee chairman David Britton said: “A council tax freeze for a third year running would undoubtedly be very welcome news for all our residents, but the final decision will not be taken until February 2013 when the full council meets to decide on its budget.
“Our debate is designed to help inform the cabinet member for finance and resources, Michael Brown, with his recommendation to that meeting.”
If there is a freeze, the average Band D taxpayer would continue paying £1,161.99 for services delivered by the county council, excluding the amounts required by individual district or borough councils, Sussex Police, and town or parish councils.
West Sussex is aiming to make £21.6m savings this year and a further £19.5m next year.
Brighton and Hove City Council had been drawing up plans for a 3.5% rise but it cannot have an increase of more than 2% without a city wide referendum. It recently emerged the council would have to find up to £50 million of savings over the next two years after estimates on the required cuts doubled in a matter of weeks.
East Sussex County Council has also yet to finalise its proposals although its financial modelling is based on council tax remaining frozen, as it was this year.
It is currently looking to make around £60m savings over the next three years.
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