Your priorities are at the forefront of Worthing's Council Tax discussions

Released: Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Worthing's cabinet is to meet to recommend how much Council Tax should be charged next year, after the community backed action to protect the most vulnerable.

The rising cost of living, inflation and a real-terms reduction in government funding have put additional pressure on us over the last 12 months as we have continued to deliver our services, including an extra £600,000 needing to be spent to ensure residents at risk of homelessness have had somewhere to sleep.

Last month we asked residents, workers and students in the town to say which services were the highest priority and which they would be most comfortable cutting back. More than 900 people responded - one of the largest consultation responses we have received in recent years.

When listing what should be a high priority, more people backed support for vulnerable people, with our cost of living action plan, than any other subject. Addressing the cost and availability of housing in the borough was listed as a high priority by almost half of the respondents, with investing more in young people and children a similarly high priority.

More than two thirds of those who responded said they would be uncomfortable with any cuts in spending on housing and homelessness prevention, health and wellbeing services, supporting the most vulnerable, keeping our streets clean and waste & recycling services.

In contrast, only roughly one in three people were uncomfortable with cuts in spending on leisure services.

Cllr Dr Beccy Cooper, the Leader of the Council, said:

“The many conversations we've had with our residents since last summer as part of our Big Listen campaign has shown us that the people of Worthing want to see the Council doing more to help those most in need.

“The results of this consultation back this up, and confirm that as a community we agree that our priority has to be protecting and supporting the most vulnerable, especially during this cost of living crisis.

“I'm really grateful to everyone who took the time to respond to this survey. We will ensure that the responses we received are reflected in our prioritisation of Council work both now and in the coming years.”

Central government has decided that borough and district councils can increase Council Tax by up to 2.99% - the equivalent of an extra 56p per month for someone living in a Band C property. Worthing's cabinet will consider what level of Council Tax it will recommend the Council sets, taking into account the need to provide core services to our communities and to balance our books.

Our budget is set to include proposals to buy property to use as temporary and emergency accommodation in the local area as the number of local people presenting as homeless continues to increase at an alarming rate. The focus on buying property would be a definitive move to drastically reduce the number of people, particularly families, who currently find themselves in expensive B&B provision that is often inadequate for their needs. There will also be a focus on investing in local high streets, Worthing's green spaces and work to reduce carbon emissions.

The cabinet will review the budget report at its public meeting at 6:30pm on 1st February 2023 in the Pavilion Barn at Field Place. You can read the reports by visiting:

A final decision on the level of Council Tax to be set will be made at a meeting of the Full Council on 21st February 2023.

Photo: Worthing Town Hall

Worthing Town Hall

(PR23-006)

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Page last updated: 02 February 2023

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