Observer Opinion: Who says we only report bad news?

TIMES are tight for all of us and sometimes it seems like we are fed an endless stream of stories about services being cut or businesses folding.

Against this bleak economic backdrop, this week we celebrate some rays of positivity on the financial front.

Firstly, the council tax freeze. Like many councils across England, the amount that goes to local authorities has been set at the same level as last year, perhaps partly encouraged by a Government grant for doing so.

Despite that, figures from Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy released this week show that nationally, people are facing of an average increase of £4.39 a year on their bills.

This is because the portion levied by fire and police authorities is on the rise. But not so in our area where these rates have also been frozen, and the extra few quid that saves us is most welcome.

At Wednesday’s budget meeting when the council tax was set, there was more good news.

Just when we were getting used to hearing about the need for belt-tightening, Councillor Birch announced a raft of spending initiatives.

Admittedly, he sounded a note of caution about tougher budgets next year, but went on to highlight spending projects such as improving the way our streets look to refurbishing factory units, supporting the rejuvenation of Hastings Pier and Olympic torch events.

More news this week that has given us cause to rejoice is the £1 million Lottery money that is to go to north east Hastings over the next decade.

Overlooked for funding in the past, Ore Village, Downs Farm and part of the Ore Valley are well deserving of a cash injection.

What we particularly appreciate is that local people will get to make decisions about how it’s going to be spent, so it’s time to start thinking if you live in that part of town.

Is the money best used on getting people back to work? Or maybe playgrounds near you need a facelift? Perhaps you think the money is best spent on making the environment look prettier?

Later this year the Local Trust will be asking these kind of questions, so get your thinking caps on and let us know what the Lottery cash should be spent on.