Consultation results in overwhelming support for vulnerable people
Adur District Council’s cabinet will try to balance supporting the most vulnerable people with rising costs for residents when it meets to recommend council tax charges for the next year.
The Council has faced unexpectedly large rises in costs in the last 12 months in some areas, with an extra £300,000 having had to be spent on preventing vulnerable people becoming homeless and energy bills being more than £100,000 higher.
Last month the Council 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 1,200 people responded – one of the largest consultation responses the Council has ever received.
When listing what should be a high priority, two themes were selected more than any others – supporting vulnerable people, with the Council’s cost of living action plan, and addressing the cost and availability of housing in the district. More than 44% of people agreed that each should be a high priority, while just over 32% said investing more in young people and children should also be a high priority.
Residents were least comfortable with the idea of cutting spending on waste and recycling collection, with more than 71% opposed to it. More than 66% of people were also uncomfortable with the possibility of cuts to health and wellbeing services or reducing support for the most vulnerable people during the cost of living crisis.
They were more comfortable with the suggestion of reduced spending on planning, leisure services and business growth support.
Cllr Neil Parkin, the Leader of the Council, said: “It’s been a challenging year for everyone in Adur this year and we’re all feeling the pinch. It means it’s even more important than ever before that every penny of the community’s money that we spend is invested wisely, and on projects that residents value and support.
“The consultation responses show that residents agree that we should continue to support those most in need, both financially and with their health and wellbeing over the next year.
“That will remain a top priority for me, along with ensuring our vital services remain excellent value for money during the cost of living crisis.”
Council tax and reviewing budget report
The government has said district councils can increase council tax by up to 2.99%. Adur’s cabinet will consider what level of council tax it will recommend the Council sets, taking into account a budget for the next year that has been drafted with council officers.
The budget sets out proposals to invest in community facilities across Adur to ensure they remain vibrant hubs for residents and visitors. There is also more funding for parks and green spaces, and plans to buy property for temporary and emergency accommodation to prevent people becoming homeless and needing to be put in B&Bs.
Adur’s cabinet will review the budget report at its public meeting at 6.30pm on 2nd February in the QEII Room at the Shoreham Centre. You can read the reports by visiting democracy.adur-worthing.gov.uk.
A final decision on the level of council tax to be set will be made at a meeting of the Full Council on 23rd February.