Sandy Town Council Precept 2014/15
Date Added: 02/01/2014
In January Sandy Town Council will be deciding on the level of the precept it will charge to local people for the services which it provides. The final decision will be made at a meeting of the Town Council on 13 January 2014. All members of the public are welcome to attend this meeting and express their views about the precept to members either before or at the meeting.
This year Sandy Town Council faces a shortfall in its income compared with previous years caused by changes to the tax base as a result of the way that local council tax support benefit is calculated. Central Government has provided Central Bedfordshire Council with funding to compensate town and parish councils for this loss but Central Bedfordshire Council has chosen not to pass on this funding to its town and parish councils despite goverment guidance that it should do so.
On 18 December 2013 Local Government Minister, Brandon Lewis MP, announced the Local Government finance settlement for 2014/15. He also stated : “We will announce the Council Tax referendum threshold principles separately in the New Year" With regard to the local councils’ sector’s representations about the need for (English) billing authorities to pass on the full share of any local Council Tax grant the Minister said “We have also set out previously that there is some £3.3 billion in the settlement this year for Council Tax support schemes. There is an element within this national pot that is there specifically to reflect reductions in the parish tax base. We have not separately identified the money because it is not ring-fenced and as caseloads change and schemes evolve, the amount that different parishes need will change. It would be wrong to try to manage that centrally. But we have been clear that we expect billing authorities to carry on passing on support to town councils and parishes to help mitigate any reduction in their taxbase due to the local Council Tax support scheme.”
We now know that Central Government has in fact passed on £801,000 to Central Bedfordshire as CT support funding just as it did last year. Last year Sandy Town Council received £42,378 from this pot of funding, this year we will be receiving £0. So Sandy Town Council now has to decide whether to increase the Council Tax to reflect this loss or whether to cut services in order to make savings. The Council has already been instituting efficiency savings and has not increased staff headcount for several years despite increased workloads.
Please express your views to your councillors and make the most of your opportunity to influence the decision making process.