Council limits council tax increase to 9p a week

Cabinet councillors at Lewes District Council have today (3/2/22) agreed to limit the rise in council tax to just 9p a week. 

The increase equates to £5 a year for an average Band D property.

With council income streams from commercial rents, sales and car parking still well below pre pandemic levels, the limited rise being proposed will directly fund the frontline services that residents and local businesses rely on.

The annual increase proposed by East Sussex County Council is £69.

Lewes District Council only receives 10% of the council tax bill, while East Sussex County Council receives the most at 75%.

The decision today follows the recently announced increase in council tax support for the worst-off in Lewes district.  Subject to adoption at Full Council, the new council tax reduction scheme in Lewes district means those of working age and in greatest hardship will not have to pay anything.

Councillor Zoe Nicholson, Leader of Lewes District Council and Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “I know how residents have struggled over the last two years, many have lost loved ones, lost businesses, some have lost both and are now at their lowest ebb.

“With our new council tax reduction scheme more people facing the greatest financial difficulties will get the extra help they need.”

Councillor Nicholson also announced £500,000 for an exceptional hardship fund to help address the spiralling prices of energy and food, directly helping people who are struggling most to pay their bills.

Councillor Nicholson added: “Allied to our financial support for residents, we have put local people first in our spending plans too.

“For too long the parks, playgrounds, gardens and green spaces in the district have been underfunded, with successive administrations failing to recognise their huge value and contribution to the wellbeing of families and individuals.

“Accordingly, and for the first time in decades, we are increasing the budget for these vital outdoor assets from £100,000 to £1.2 million and will ensure the money is spent across the district so every community benefits.”

Play areas in Ditchling, Newhaven, Lewes, Peacehaven, Seaford, South Chailey and Ringmer will all see upgrades and equipment replaced.

A raft of green projects are also programmed and funded, with new wildflower meadows and extensive tree planting planned, multiple flood alleviation schemes scheduled - including the realignment of the Stanley Turner stream - sea defence repairs coordinated, and biodiversity training and education timetabled.

Councillor Nicholson said: “People know how passionate I am about tackling the climate emergency and supporting local people, so it is very exciting to see so much work in the pipeline to ensure our direction of travel remains firmly fixed on 2030, and achieving carbon net zero.

“But also, it so evident how these initiatives are also so important for us all today, whether it is better mental and physical health or community cohesion and future proofing against the impacts of climate change.”

The budget will be considered at Full Council on February 21.