Council tax rises

Council tax payers across the South East are facing increases in their bills in 2023.

The leaders of three of the region’s county and unitary authorities have already indicated they will raise council tax by between 4% and 5%.

Increases had been limited to up to 2.99%, without the approval of a local referendum on raising it higher.

Government rules now say a council providing social care can increase bills by 5% without a local vote.

This will be on top of increases imposed by Police and Crime Commissioners and Fire and Rescue services.

In the autumn of 2022, Surrey council leader Tim Oliver presented his draft budget to his cabinet, and said he hoped to limit the extent of the increase for the next financial year.

He said he was “confident” the increase would be only 1.99%, with an extra 1% for rising social care costs, despite county councils being allowed to put up taxes by 5%.

Surrey County Council has a funding gap of £14.4m, which Mr Oliver said he was “confident” could be closed.

Surrey County Council’s cabinet meets to discuss the budget on 31 January, with the full council due to vote on it on 7 February.

West Sussex County Council’s draft budget includes a proposed council tax increase of 4.99%.

This would see a Band D property’s annual bill rise by £77.67.

Performance and finance scrutiny committee chairman Pieter Montyn said:
“The budget is being set in an extremely difficult economic period, with high levels of inflation alongside increasing demand for services and cost of living pressures.”

It will be discussed by the authority’s performance and scrutiny committee on 25 January, ahead of a full council meeting on 17 February.

East Sussex is proposing 4.99% and Kent 5%.

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