Press Releases: week beginning 22 December 2014
Hastings budget cuts amongst worst in the country
Hastings Borough Council is among the 20 local authorities in the country that are facing the largest reduction in their spending power following the government’s 2015-16 financial settlement for local councils announced last week. The government announced that across the country the average reduction for councils is 1.8%. Hastings faces the maximum 6.4% reduction.
Council leader Cllr Jeremy Birch said: “This means another year of significantly higher reductions for Hastings than for other councils. The 6.4% reduction for us is the highest in the south east yet we are the most deprived local authority in the region.
“The reductions are not evenly distributed. South Oxfordshire District Council, which is the prime minister’s local authority, will see a 1.5% increase in its spending power, while closer to home Wealden District Council, which includes Crowborough and Wadhurst will receive a 1.5% increase and Horsham District Council a 2.9% increase.
“Hastings is on course for a cut of over 50% in cash terms from 2010 to the end of the coming financial year in 2016 in the grant we get from central government to provide services for local people. Allowing for inflation, it’s an even bigger cut. It is by far the largest reduction of any council in Sussex. We are currently preparing the council’s budget for next year and against this background we are facing some very difficult choices.”
The council’s budget proposals will be published on 16 January for a four-week consultation period and then will go before the full council for a final decision on 25 February.
Council acts to prevent reservoir from 'overtopping'
Emergency action is being taken to reduce the water levels in a reservoir in Hastings Alexandra Park.
Cllr Dawn Poole, leaded member for leisure, explained: “We were told on Friday, 19 December that the valve that operates the water level at Harmers reservoir had failed.
“As the valve is submerged in the reservoir and impossible to get to without lowering the water the Council has no option but to reduce the level of water and prevent the reservoir from ‘overtopping’.
“A diesel pump has been set up near the railings on the dirt track alongside Harmers reservoir, with suitable barriers to maintain pedestrian access only. The pump will be available for use over the entire Christmas and New Year period.
“Situations like this should be a thing of the past as we plan to carry out works to install a new and easier to maintain system of water management for this reservoir in January 2015.”