Sutton Council tax set to stay frozen - cuts proposed for adult social care and children's services
Council tax in Sutton looks set to be frozen for a fifth consecutive year.
Members of Sutton Council's strategy and resources committee backed a budget that freezes council tax for 2014/15 but continues to fund a park in north London at a town hall meeting last night.
Councillors heard how Sutton has managed to offset cuts in Government grants by sharing services with other councils and by making money from investments in the town, including from new developments at either end of the High Street and Subsea7's plans to build a new base in Brighton Road.
But spending cuts have been proposed in departments such as adult social care and children's care and a report by officers highlighted these cuts could prove risky if there are significant changes in demand from residents.
Sutton plans to use the savings to ensure it can freeze council tax and car parking charges, provide £200,000 of rates relief to businesses, invest £20m in housing stock, and pay the London Living Wage to all its employees.
Councillor Simon Wales, the council's lead member for finance, assets and the voluntary sector, said: "We are doing all we can to support people in a difficult economic climate where our Government grant continues to be cut.
"That means having to prioritise our spending wisely and we have chosen to invest in areas that our residents and businesses have told us matter the most - school places, new homes and supporting our local economy."
The budget still includes an annual levy to the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority of £219,000.
The levy has been in place for more than 50 years and funds the north London park, which also benefited from Olympic games funding in recent years.
All London's councils are required to pay it although the Sutton Guardian has campaigned for a change in law which is necessary to stop south London councils paying for the north-east London park.
Coun Jayne McCoy said: "We pay £200,000 to a park that is miles away and, at last count, that only five Sutton people used in the last year.
"After 50 years they have agreed to generously give us a two per cent reduction that we will invest in the Wandle Valley Regional Park which is on our doorstep."
The budget is still subject to a debate and vote at the next full council meeting.
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