Borough has to tighten its belt earlier than expected

Five reasons why this Kent town is in the UK's top 20

Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council is launching a public consultation on funding public services, as it faces the prospect of a £1.8million budget shortfall.

The local authority is braced for the loss of vital government revenue support grants. These were expected to be phased out by 2019, but it has emerged this is now to take effect a year earlier, placing unexpected pressure on its finances and the range of amenities it provides.

In response, the council is considering the publication of a research paper which will advise a review of financial support that parish councils receive, as well as examining the contributions those living in different parts of the borough pay towards services.

The consultation is due to launch next month, and will identify residents’ views on how the borough’s portion of Council Tax will be funded.

Nicolas Heslop, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council leader, hoped a way forward could be found to help ensure present levels of public services are upheld.

He said: “The borough council has agreed to launch a public consultation on how to fund those services provided by the borough council and parish councils, which form a portion of the overall council tax bill received by residents.

“This review is about how we maintain the quality and range of services that we know our residents enjoy, and having a fairer share across the Borough in paying for those services,” Mr Heslop added.

The consultation will begin on Monday May 9, and details of how to take part will be published in due course.”

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