Council approves 2022/23 budget that protects services and supports economic recovery

Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC) approved its Corporate Plan and Budget for 2022/23 at a meeting of Full Council on Wednesday 2 March 2022.

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.

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

The Corporate Plan and Budget 2022/23 includes 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.

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

“The Coronavirus pandemic continues to have a significant impact on local government finances, including our own, and it’s important that we bring our budget back into balance as soon as we can. However, it’s also vital that we continue to provide additional financial support for our most important services, like our leisure centres, to keep them running for the benefit of our communities.

“The budget we have set for 2022/23 is focussed on residents’ priorities and taking all the necessary steps required to support economic recovery in Mid Sussex, as we look to bounce back strongly from the effects of the pandemic.

“We will continue to deliver on our key priority projects during the year ahead to ensure that Mid Sussex remains a wonderful place to live, work and visit. Our kerbside food waste collection pilot will take place later this year, which is an important step towards increasing recycling rates and reducing general waste. It’s part of our wider Sustainable Economy Strategy, that will help to set the Council on the path to net zero carbon emissions.

“As we think about our environment and the open spaces that have been so important to residents for recreation during the pandemic, we have ambitious plans to invest in our local parks. Over the coming year we’ll be making significant improvements at Mount Noddy in East Grinstead, Victoria Park in Haywards Heath, Hemsleys and Finches Field in Pease Pottage, whilst St Johns Park in Burgess Hill will be enhanced the following year.

“Finally, this year we will be taking significant steps forward on the masterplanning for a new Centre for Outdoor Sports in Burgess Hill, which will provide a new high quality, multi-sports facility for the community and is the biggest sports investment in Mid Sussex for a generation.”