Press Release: Funding to tackle homelessness and protect frontline services in council’s budget

Crawley Borough Council’s budget for 2019/20 will protect frontline services, provide extra funding to combat homelessness and continue to invest in the town.

The budget was approved at a meeting of Full Council on Wednesday (27 February).

The council’s 2019/20 budget includes:

·     £7m to purchase investment properties. The rental income generated from these will be used to help fund council services

·     More than £9m over three years for repairs to council homes

·     The creation of a new ring-fenced ‘Supported Accommodation’ reserve to combat homelessness, funded from additional Housing Benefit subsidy paid to the council on behalf of residents in supported accommodation

·     The purchase of a housing development in Broadfield, giving the council a good payback period and providing tenants with a more efficient service

·     A new integrated housing database to replace the council’s outdated systems

·     The ICT transformation programme.

Crawley will suffer a further 89.7 per cent cut in revenue support from the Government over the next year. The reduction in funding since 2016/17 is £1.72m.

Despite this, the council has identified additional income, efficiencies and savings of £1.26m, meaning that the council’s element of Council Tax will rise by just 2.49 per cent, the equivalent of only 9p per week for a band D property.

West Sussex County Council has agreed a rise of 4.99 per cent (£65.79 on a band D property) and the precept for the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner will rise by 14.47 per cent (£24 on a band D property).

For every pound paid in Council Tax, West Sussex County Council will receive 77.8p, Sussex Police will receive 10.7p with Crawley Borough Council receiving just 11.5p.

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough Council, said: “Local services used to be paid from income tax, meaning those who earned more paid more. Due to government cuts to council and police funding, funding for these services increasingly comes from Council Tax which tends to hit pensioners and poorer residents hardest.

“While Crawley Borough Council is responsible for collecting all your Council Tax, more than 88 per cent of it goes to West Sussex County Council or Sussex Police. We’ve worked hard to ensure that Crawley Borough Council’s part of the bill is kept roughly in line with inflation, meaning that the ‘real terms’ increase this year comes exclusively from West Sussex and the police.

“I’m proud to say that despite cuts from central government, we continue to spend the same on services today as when I became Leader of Crawley, we are probably the only council in the country able to say that.”

For more details on Council Tax bandings and ways to pay, visit:www.crawley.gov.uk/counciltax

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