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Tax rise goes ahead despite £6.2 million boost

A 3.95 per cent increase in West Sussex council tax will not be lowered by an extra £6.2 million pledged to the county from the Government.

The Government pledged extra money after the Tory-run county council protested at the severity of funding cuts that will add about £50 in total on average to council tax bills in the Horsham district.

Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, welcomed the additional funding but said the strain on services remained and the tax rise would go forward.

Cllr Goldsmith said: “We lobbied Government and they have listened to us and we are pleased as this money goes some way to help us better manage the funding reductions this year and next. But this is only temporary relief and big savings still need to be made and they won’t go away because of this extra money.

“In 2016/17 we are facing a shortfall of £44.2 million and will still need to make £18.6 million of savings in addition to the £162 million of savings we have already made since 2010. We are also faced with growing demands for our services and ever shrinking resources.

“So we continue on a cautious and responsible approach to take forward our proposed 3.95 per cent increase to council tax to full council on February 19. This will enable us to continue to protect critical frontline services that are so important to those in need.”

A Horsham district council tax rise of 1.2 per cent is up for approval by full council on February 24.

That would mean residents in Horsham district paying a combined total of about £47 a year extra for district and county taxes, made up of an average county increase of £45.90 and a district increases of £1.63 on average.

On top of that there will be average increase of £2.79 a year, 1.98 per cent, in Sussex Police tax, known as precept, and any parish or town council precept depending where you live.

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