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Recommendation to increase council tax in West Sussex

Council tax could increase by almost 4% for people in West Sussex Credit: ITV News

Council tax in West Sussex could increase by nearly 4%.

The local authority says a worse than expected Government grant and ever increasing demand for services leaves it with a £44m black hole in funding.

The council has recommended the increase saying it will protect the most vulnerable.

Kent residents to pay more for police force

An extra £5 will be charged for police services in Kent Credit: ITV Meridian

Households in Kent will pay more for the county's police force next year.

Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes has secured a five pound increase in the charge, which is included with the Council Tax.

She says Kent residents still pay less for their police than most other counties and the funds are urgently needed.

Ann Barnes has secured a five pound increase in the charge, which is included with the Council Tax Credit: ITV Meridian

"The terrorist attacks in Paris last November were a game changer. The Home Secretary asked police forces across the country to increase their firearms capabilities by up to 50% and £1.2million of the extra money will help pay for the extra officers Kent Police needs to do this.

"Money will still have to be found to recruit, train and equip them, though."

– Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, Ann Barnes


Residents asked if they'll pay more for policing

Residents encouraged to have their say on policing in Dorset Credit: Dorset Police

Do you think council tax should increase - or stay the same? That's what residents in Dorset are being asked by the county's Police and Crime Commissioner.

It relates to the police precept- a percentage of Council Tax that funds policing in the area. The force say a rise would allow them to better protect vulnerable people.

Residents have just six days left to share their views. So far, over 2,500 people have taken part and Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill, is urging more people to get involved in helping him decide which option to take.

Policing requires constant investment to allow officers to keep up with ever changing techniques being adopted by criminals. It is also important we balance the needs of the police service with the financial demands on families in Dorset. This small increase would enable the force to invest in three key areas which are of concern to many of us.”

– Martyn Underhill, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner

If residents were to vote in favour of a rise, this would be invested in three key areas:

  • Protecting vulnerable people (e.g. greater investment in protecting the elderly, in child sexual exploitation investigation and in combating domestic abuse)
  • Emerging threats (e.g. improving capability in catching online cyber criminals)
  • Increased public access to police (e.g. investment in the 101 service, increasing policing digital platforms and online access)

Dorset Police are urging residents to visit to take part.

Council admits it was wrong to hound widower over dead wife's £8.62 debt

Mr Sagoo was hounded for £8.62 Credit: ITV

Sevenoaks Council has admitted it was wrong to contact a widower to request a debt from his dead wife. It sent numerous demands for £8.62 despite the fact Shamsher Sagoo's wife had died last June from cancer. In the end Mr Sagoo, from Edenbridge, said he was forced to take his wife's ashes to the town hall to prove she was dead.

"We are extremely sorry we have caused distress to Mr Sagoo and accept we have made a mistake. We have spoken with Mr Sagoo and expressed our deepest apologies and we are no longer requesting this money. Letters should not have been sent to the late Mrs Sagoo and as a result of this incident we are reviewing our procedures to ensure it cannot happen again.”

– Sevenoaks Council

Families hit by flooding given council tax break

Hundreds of families in the South still unable to move back into their homes after the winter's floods won't have to pay any council tax until they do.

Homes across the south were devastated by flooding this winter Credit: ITV Meridian

According to the Government, 123 families in Hampshire have been unable to return home. More than 70 in Surrey and 60 across the Thames Valley. Anyone who has not yet been offered a discount should contact their local council.

Homes across the south were devastated by flooding this winter Credit: ITV Meridian


Vote of no confidence in Brighton's Green Party passed

Labour and Conservative councillors in Brighton have passed a vote of no confidence in the Green Party after it's members proposed 4.75% rise in the city's council tax.

A vote of no confidence in Brighton's Green Party is passed Credit: ITV Meridian

The Green administration plans go beyond the Government's expected threshold of 2%, which means residents will be given a chance to vote on the increase.

Woman admits £29,000 benefit fraud

A woman from West Wittering has been given a prison sentence after falsely claimed nearly £29,000 in benefits.

Lorely Day had claimed the money for over six years without declaring that she had a substantial monthly private pension.

Miss Day received a 12 week prison sentence, suspended for 2 years, after claiming £23,369.58 in Housing Benefit and £5,629.69 in Council Tax benefit between November 2006 and January 2013.

She pleaded guilty at Worthing Magistrates Court to charges of dishonestly making false statements to Chichester District Council.

Benefit fraud is a very serious crime and we will prosecute those people guilty of it. All income and capital has to be declared, no matter what its source. The benefits system is there to help those most in need, not those who want to abuse it by claiming money they are not entitled to receive."

– Cllr Tony Dignum, Cabinet Member for Finance at Chichester District Council
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