The largest political group on Lewes District Council says now is not the time to hit residents with an unnecessary council tax increase.
Conservatives are pressing for a zero increase for 2021/22 but the ruling anti-Conservative coalition are adamant to squeeze the largest rise they can implement, even though many households are struggling in the face of the Covid pandemic.
At a meeting of the council’s Policy and Performance Advisory committee (Monday), an amendment replacing the proposed 2.39% increase with a zero per cent rise was passed, thanks to the prudent Conservative members present.
The meeting therefore recommended no Council Tax increase in the current year, as is the case already in neighbouring Conservative-controlled Wealden District Council and many of the parish councils across the Lewes District. The recommendation now goes to the rainbow alliance Cabinet for consideration.
“There will need to be a tweak to the proposed budget”, admitted the Conservative Group Leader, Councillor Isabelle Linington; “but this can be found from planned savings and from other expected increased income.
“Now is not the time to hit those who are already struggling to pay bills and feed their families”, added Cllr Linington. “As Conservatives, our number-one aim is to support residents by continuing to provide essential services in the most efficient way and offer value-for-money rather than squeezing the last penny from hard-pressed residents.”