Cllr David Tutt, Leader of the Council and Cllr Stephen Holt, Deputy Leader of the Council and Finance Portfolio Holder
Eastbourne Borough Council yesterday (Wednesday 24th February) passed the annual budget.
Speaking, Deputy Leader of the Council and Finance Portfolio Holder Cllr Stephen Holt said, “Eastbourne Borough Council has four main income streams: Business rates, council tax, locally raised income such as our theatres and conference facilities and investments. As a result of COVID we faced the appalling loss of 60% of our income – almost overnight. This would be unsustainable for any Council.”
He went on to say: “With the costs of the pandemic to the national government expected to be in the region of £394 billion – the Government is also having to take out loans, consider its spending plans and I am sure – make cuts.
“This budget is laying the basis for managing uncertainties within the capitalisation limits set, as well as maintaining our investment in new homes for local families, such as at Victoria Mansions and Bedfordwell Road. In doing so, as well as addressing our housing needs, we are also contributing towards the creation of job and opportunities for residents and Eastbourne’s business community. We will also continue to support green initiatives and work to ensure this Council fulfils the Carbon neutral pledge by 2030.”
“As we come out of the pandemic we will seek new tourism opportunities, investing in items like the world’s busiest bandstand and seafront lighting to ensure that Eastbourne remains a safe, attractive place to visit, live, work and play in!”
"This authority is making significant progress in identifying savings and efficiencies whilst helping restart our local economy. Whilst tough decisions will need to be made, I will always ensure that the needs of our residents come first.”
Leader of the Council, Cllr David Tutt stated, “It is extremely disappointing that our Conservative opposition have used this important budget to play party politics. Our capitalisation loan from the Government has been offered following considerable scrutiny and analysis by Government appointed assessors and has been offered on the same basis as has been made to Conservative Councils who, like Eastbourne, have experienced an unavoidable loss of income due to Covid. Until now I have been proud of the way that all local politicians have put party politics aside and concentrated on doing what needs to be done to support and protect our local community during this pandemic. I hope that now the budget meeting is over everyone will return to that way of working.
Eastbourne has suffered from successive budget cuts in Government funding from a position in 2010 where we received a grant of approx. £9m, until now, where there is no recurring revenue support grant.
We know that there are still some councils who are continuing with their discussions as their requests were submitted later. We also know that so far, capitalisation for 6 councils have been agreed, with 4 so far accepting the conditions. We agree with others and suspect we are the tip of the iceberg with more to follow.
The opposition should stop playing party politics with our recovery.”