Budget to protect services, support economic recovery and invest £1.5m in parks and playgrounds

Mid Sussex District Council’s Corporate Plan and Budget 2022/23 has been recommended for approval by Cabinet.

Each year the Council sets out how it will deliver its services and use its financial resources over the next 12 months. The plan is created in line with the Council’s key priorities; to provide effective and responsive services, create sustainable economic growth, deliver strong and resilient communities and maintain financial independence.

Cabinet met on Monday 14 February 2022 to discuss the draft Corporate Plan and Budget for the financial year ahead and recommended to Full Council that the document is formally approved.

Flagship projects being progressed in the Corporate Plan and Budget for 2022/23 include almost £1.5 million of upgrades to a number of parks and play areas, plus the trial of food waste collections and the masterplanning of the new Centre for Outdoor Sports.

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to place significant financial pressure on organisations in both the public and private sector. Mid Sussex District Council depends on income from fees, charges and rents to fund public services, and the pandemic has severely affected the income from these areas. While the Government’s Income Compensation scheme has helped to mitigate the loss, the Council continues to experience a significant dip in income as a result of the pandemic.

The financial outlook of the Council for the next four years predicts that, even with some support from the Government, the Council must bridge a £5.5 million funding gap. However, the Council has extensive experience in budget management and has always responded effectively to difficult financial challenges in local government.

Cabinet recommended a Council Tax increase of 2.8%, £4.95 for an average Band D property, and the use of the Council’s General Reserve funds to balance the budget and protect council services. The proposals will now be considered by Full Council on Wednesday 2 March.

Councillor Jonathan Ash-Edwards, Leader of Mid Sussex District Council said:

“The aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to place significant financial pressure on Councils across the UK. In Mid Sussex, this is principally because we have had to provide significant financial support to our leisure centres to keep them open for residents during times of social distancing and reduced income.

“Our plans for the next financial year take the steps necessary to protect our services for local residents and to support the economic recovery.

“I’m delighted that, despite the financial challenges, we are committing almost £1.5 million to fund improvements to our most popular parks, open spaces and playgrounds this year. We will also make real progress this year to roll out our trial of food waste collections and masterplan the new Centre for Outdoor Sports, the biggest investment in sports provision in Mid Sussex in a generation”.