Sevenoaks residents to be hit by 1.98% council tax increase for 2013/14

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By kentsussex | Wednesday, February 20, 2013, 11:44

Cash-strapped Sevenoaks residents are to be hit by an increase in council tax as the District Council increases the fee by 1.98%. 

Here's what the council has to say on the hike: 

Following a two year Council Tax freeze, Sevenoaks District Council has agreed to a below inflation Council Tax increase allowing it to protect its front line services.

As part of the Coalition Government's pledge to reduce the national deficit, the Council's support grant from Government has been significantly reduced.

Sevenoaks District Council has seen a 40% reduction in its annual support grant from Government over the last three years. 

In financial terms this equates to Sevenoaks District Council receiving £2.6 million less to deliver its services than three years ago. 

Historically Government support made up half of the Council's overall budget but over only a few years this has reduced to about one-third. 

Over the last three years Sevenoaks District Council had managed to protect council tax payers from these reductions in grant.

Sevenoaks District Council now receives one of the lowest levels of financial support from Government per head of population of any UK district council. 

The Council's grant per head of population has been reduced from £55.64 in 2010/2011 to £32.97 this year, making it the lowest in Kent.

Despite this significant reduction in funding the Council is still committed to providing quality services and value for money to residents across the District. 

It has agreed a challenging budget, which is part of the Council's 10 year financial strategy to anticipate, mitigate and manage future financial pressures.

Annual savings of £300,000 are being made through a senior management restructure, and additional savings through partnership working to help protect frontline services. 

In the last three years the Council has saved £4 million or 25% from its budgets.

From next April, the Council will increase its element of Council Tax by 1.98%, the first change in three years.

This rise will mean an average household, who currently pay £181.89 annually for the Council's share of the council tax bill, will pay an extra £3.60 a year or an extra 7p a week from April.

Cllr Peter Fleming, Leader of the Council, says of the budget: "I am aware that this is a very difficult time for residents, many who will have seen large rises in utility bills, transport and food costs. 

"I am committed to drive down the cost of running the council, making savings and providing the best value for money, but this is set against the need to provide quality services in an uncertain world. 

"At a time of such financial difficulty and in the face of large reductions in funding from the government, we will have to continue to take difficult decisions. 

"Raising Council Tax should never be the default position and should only happen alongside the implementation of efficiencies, such as partnership working and our senior management restructure. 

"These actions mean that frontline services that residents value such as weekly refuse collections can be protected."

      

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