Council tax increase of just under 4p a week approved

Cabinet councillors at Lewes District Council have (on Thursday, February 2) agreed a council tax rise of just under 4p a week. 

This increase for 2023/24 equates to £2.02 a year for a Band D property and at 1%, is well below the maximum rise of 3% allowed by government without holding a referendum. 

Councillor Zoe Nicholson, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Finance and Assets, said: “It has been an extremely challenging year financially for us and councils across the country, some of whom are sadly facing bankruptcy, but through prudent management, identifying efficiencies and savings we have balanced the books and continue to invest in new facilities to make Lewes district an even better place to live. 

“Alongside this, we have been doing all we can to help residents, particularly the most vulnerable in our communities, through the cost of living crisis and I am pleased we are looking at a very minimal rise in council tax next year.” 

Lewes District Councill only receives 10% of the council tax bill while East Sussex County Council receives the most at 71%.

The annual increase proposed by East Sussex County Council is 4.99%, which equates to an increase of £80.51 for a Band D bill.

Councillors today also approved the introduction of a new discretionary council tax premium of up to 100% on second homes and on homes that have been empty for longer than one year. This currently applies only to homes that have been empty more than two years. 

Councillor Nicholson added: “The pressure on council budgets is unprecedented due to a combination of massive inflation, increased demands on services, high energy costs, issues caused by the war in Ukraine and more, yet we have been given no extra finance from government. 

"However, we have been able to achieve a balanced financial plan without any cuts to frontline services while maintaining our support for vulnerable people. 

"Significantly, our Council Tax Reduction Scheme has given financial assistance to around 3,500 of the most disadvantaged working-age residents, helping to meet their council tax liabilities and has allowed about 2,000 of those experiencing the greatest hardship to not pay any council tax at all. Now, more than ever, it is vital we continue to support residents who need our help."

Full Council will consider all these proposals and the budget on February 20.

Published on February 7, 2023.