Enjoy your Christmas - things can only get worse
IF death and taxation are two of the great certainties of life then a third must surely be that Rother will put up Council Tax to the maximum following a raw deal from government.
This week's Christmas present from Rother or Government '“ depending on one's personal political persuasion '“ has been the near-certainty that, come April, the 2008-2009 Council Tax bill will include a range-topping five per cent demand from Rother.
Perhaps that reference to personal political persuasion could be deleted. Does anyone remember a time in its 33 years that Rother considered that it had received a fair deal from ANY government?
Year by year, local authorities such as Rother are required to take on an ever-widening range of duties of increasing complexity '“ and therefore cost.
Year by year, the amount of grant they receive from central sources never seems to cover anything like the true cost.
Councillors were presented with a classic example on Tuesday.
The "free" national bus scheme is free in name only. It has to be paid for.
Rother, which issues the pensioners' passes in a district with a high average age, will receive a grant of 297,000 in the coming year, 304,000 the next year and 313,00 the third.
But the current free scheme, much-appreciated by those who use it, is likely to exceed the budget by 250,000 and in total is it estimated that next year Rother's budget for this will need to increase by 486,000 to 878,000.
Based on the funding Rother received when the scheme was introduced in 2006-2007 when the scheme was introduced, there is a funding gap of 80,000 to 100,000 a year for Rother to fill.
But if the coming year's overall draft grant government settlement makes for a tight Rother budget the following two years are set to be still worse!
So, it's a Happy Christmas to everyone from those at the Town Hall and a Happy Christrmas from those in Parliament.
And it's a Happy Christmas from us. ...