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COUNTY RECOMMENDS 4.9% COUNCIL TAX INCREASE

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A 4.9 per-cent increase in council tax for West Sussex CC services is being recommended....
A 4.9 per-cent increase in council tax for West Sussex CC services is being recommended.

If approved, the average Band D tax bill will increase from£954.18 to£1,001.34 for services including schools, roads, caring services, libraries, and fire and rescue.

Still to be added to the figure will be the amount needed by Sussex Police and District or Borough Councils.

The increase, which works out at just 91p a week more for a Band D property, is being recommended to the full Council following a meeting today of the County Council's Cabinet.

Steve Waight, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, said: 'We have been faced with some very difficult decisions because the Government is continuing to give West Sussex a raw deal in terms of grants towards essential services.

'I do wonder how many of our residents realise that councils in West Sussex receive only half the grant per head of councils in Manchester and Liverpool, to carry out the same range of service?

'While our tax increase is a little above inflation, our grant for the coming financial year for services other than schools is below inflation and, yet again, the absolute bare minimum allowed under the new system.

'Despite that, we have delivered a budget that will protect front-line services, give value for money, and will deliver some improvements we know our residents want to see.

'We have also made a series of efficiency savings that are in excess of Government targets, and I am confident there will be more to come as a result of a major review of all our services which is due to start shortly.'

The full County Council will debate the£766.6 million budget for 2006/07 at its meeting on 17 February.

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