COUNCIL tax in Adur could be frozen again next year, it has been revealed.
The news comes as the district faces ‘key financial challenges’, including the uncertainty posed by the upcoming general election.
Leader Neil Parkin announced at the full council meeting last Thursday that Adur was looking to freeze council tax again next year.
The district levy has not been increased for the last four years and was, in fact, cut from April following an historic decision by councillors.
Mr Parkin said after the meeting: “Inflation is running at two per cent, so over five years, this represents a one per cent cut.”
The budget strategy for the next five years was also discussed at the meeting.
A report from Paul Brewer, director for digital and resources, outlined the key financial challenges faced by Adur and Worthing councils.
“Both councils have successfully managed to maintain a balanced budget over the recent years, despite considerable financial challenges,” the report said.
“However, the financial pressure continues. The councils expect to receive a further reduction in overall funding of around 15 per cent in 2015/16, with further reductions in funding in the following four years.”
With a general election next year, the future of some government funding streams was uncertain.
“Nevertheless, given various policy announcements, it is inevitable that overall funding from government will reduce in future,” said the report.
Councillors were first asked to consider the 2015/16 strategy back in July, to enable the two councils to plan ahead.
Officers outlined at the joint strategic committee meeting in July the options for addressing the budget gap and approval of the strategy was recommended.
This included keeping council tax increases to a minimum, restricting growth to unavoidable expenditure and identifying ‘cashable’ efficiency savings.
Mr Brewer said: “It is inevitable that the councils will continue to face significant reductions in expenditure year on year irrespective of which party wins the general election.
“The need to limit council tax increases coupled with a continued reduction in government support means that the council will need to identify significant savings in the next five years to balance the budget.”