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Crawley Council reveal budget for 19/20 to tackle homelessness

Crawley Borough Council say their budget for 2019/20 will protect frontline services, provide extra funding to combat homelessness and will continue to invest in the town.

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The budget was approved at a meeting of Full Council on Wednesday (27 February).

The council’s 2019/20 budget includes:

  • £7m to purchase investment properties. The rental income generated from these will be used to help fund council services
  • More than £9m over three years for repairs to council homes
  • The creation of a new ring-fenced ‘Supported Accommodation’ reserve to combat homelessness, funded from additional Housing Benefit subsidy paid to the council on behalf of residents in supported accommodation
  • The purchase of a housing development in Broadfield, giving the council a good payback period and providing tenants with a more efficient service
  • A new integrated housing database to replace the council’s outdated systems
  • The ICT transformation programme.

Crawley will suffer a further 89.7 per cent cut in revenue support from the Government over the next year. The reduction in funding since 2016/17 is £1.72m.

Despite this, the council say they have identified additional income, efficiencies and savings of £1.26m, meaning that the council’s element of Council Tax will rise by just 2.49 per cent, the equivalent of only 9p per week for a band D property.

West Sussex County Council has agreed a rise of 4.99 per cent (£65.79 on a band D property) and the precept for the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner will rise by 14.47 per cent (£24 on a band D property).

For every pound paid in Council Tax, West Sussex County Council will receive 77.8p, Sussex Police will receive 10.7p with Crawley Borough Council receiving just 11.5p.

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough Council, said:

“Local services used to be paid from income tax, meaning those who earned more paid more. Due to government cuts to council and police funding, funding for these services increasingly comes from Council Tax which tends to hit pensioners and poorer residents hardest.

“While Crawley Borough Council is responsible for collecting all your Council Tax, more than 88 per cent of it goes to West Sussex County Council or Sussex Police. We’ve worked hard to ensure that Crawley Borough Council’s part of the bill is kept roughly in line with inflation, meaning that the ‘real terms’ increase this year comes exclusively from West Sussex and the police.

“I’m proud to say that despite cuts from central government, we continue to spend the same on services today as when I became Leader, we are probably the only council in the country able to say that.”

For more details on Council Tax bandings and ways to pay, visit www.crawley.gov.uk/counciltax

Education

Tilgate Primary School praised by Ofsted

Following a recent Ofsted inspection, The Oaks Primary School and Nursery was judged as continuing to be a good school that is highly ambitious for its pupils.

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The inspection took place on the last Wednesday of the school year in July and the report states that the school has a:

cohesive, knowledgeable and influential team of senior and middle leaders who are highly ambitious for pupils”.

The report also acknowledges how positive the pupils and parents feel about the school:

“Pupils enjoy school. They are enthusiastic, keen and inquisitive learners…(the pupils) said that lessons are fun and make them think hard”. “Parents praised the staff’s efforts to provide children with good opportunities to learn and ensure that they are fully prepared for the next stage of their education. One parent said, ‘My daughter loves the school.’ Parents particularly value the way staff support their children to develop good personal and social skills”.

There is also praise for The Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT) and the impact of collaborative work between the TKAT schools:

“Leaders at all levels benefit from their collaborative work with The Kemnal Academies Trust. From schools within this multi-academy trust (MAT), leaders meet together to share good practice and update their knowledge”.

Alan Gunn, Headteacher of the school said,

“We are all absolutely thrilled with the report. We have a highly dedicated and skilled staff who are all committed to giving all our children the best possible start to life.

Everyone works very hard to ensure The Oaks is a fantastic place for our children to learn and grow as successful, confident and responsible individuals. I am so proud of our children and the staff and it is great that our efforts have been acknowledged by Ofsted.

The report has highlighted a number of our strengths and that we continue to strive to provide good level of education. It has also confirmed ways that we can continue to improve on to ensure even greater success in the future.”

The full report can be read on the School’s website by clicking here.

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