Archived News - Council Tax
Central Beds Council announced a freeze on council tax for the third year running, after agreeing the budget for 2013/14 at a meeting on February 21st.
The council tax freeze means that tax for the average Central Beds Band D will be £1,308.33, with residents now paying the same, wherever they live.
Councillor Maurice Jones said: "We've put together a balanced budget which reflects responses we got from residents in our budget survey.
"Your feedback told us that savings should come from the back office, so that frontline services are protected.
"Throughout the whole budget process, we have been very clear that we do not want to put extra pressure on families' budgets by raising council tax and our focus has been on ensuring that residents receive great services that represent maximum value for money for the council tax they pay.
"We have scrutinised every area to look at where savings can be made and we remain determined to drive out every penny of unnecessary cost."
The following list shows the council tax bill for households in Eaton Bray during the 2009-10 tax year.
- Band A: £1,050.94
- Band B: £1,226.10
- Band C: £1,401.25
- Band D: £1,576.41
- Band E: £1,926.72
- Band F: £2,277.04
- Band G: £2,627.35
- Band H: £3,152.82
The overall bill includes share-outs of different sizes for various authorities, who between them provide a wide range of services for people in the area.
A big revamp for local goverment means the new Central Bedfordshire Council will replace South Bedfordshire District Counci and Bedfordshire Council Council on April 1st 2009.
Bills in the local area total far more than neighbouring Luton, figures show.
People who live inside South Beds District Council's boundaries are stung far more in council tax bills than almost anywhere else in the country, new figures have shown.
On average, people in Band D homes in Dunstable, Houghton Regis, Eaton Bray and the surrounding villages pay £200 more each year than their counterparts in neighbouring Luton.
South Beds trails just Sedgefield Borough Council and Rutland County Council for the dubious honour of being the country's most heavily-taxed local authority area.
The average bill for each Band D property in the district is £1,593, compared to £1,293 in Luton.
This week the Taxpayers' Alliance, which campaigns for public sector efficiency, called on authorities at the top of the list to be more prudent.
But South Beds District Council and Beds County Council have defended themselves against allegations of wastefulness.
For the latest news from Eaton Bray and beyond, get the Dunstable Gazette every Wednesday and make a daily date with Dunstable Today.
Source: Dave Burke, Dunstable Today, 1 May 2008
Eaton Bray households Council Tax Bill 2008-09
- Band A: £1,023.78
- Band B: £1,194.41
- Band C: £1,365.04
- Band D: £1,535.67
- Band E: £1,876.93
- Band F: £2,218.19
- Band G: £2,559.45
- Band H: £3,071.34
The number-crunching on council tax is finally over, so South Beds householders can now check out the size of their bill for 2008/09.
Dunstable households in average band D properties will pay 1,623.09 in council tax in the next financial year.
That's a rise ofabout £66.75 compared to the bill for 2007/08.
In Houghton Regis, the council tax bill for average band D homes will be £1,618.89, an increase of about £72.
Council tax bills include share-outs of different sizes for various authorities, providing all sorts of services for people living in South Beds.
The last piece of the jigsaw was put into place at the budget-setting meeting of South Beds District Council.
Councillors voted through the Conservative budget, which means there will be a rise of 2.99 per cent for the district council's slice of the council tax bill.
That's the lowest council tax percentage increase of all of the county's major authorities.
The district council's budget requirement for 2008/09 was set at £15.6 million.
Average band D householders in South Beds will pay £158.59 for district council services in the coming year.
That works out at a £4.60 rise, 9p per week, compared to the current year, for those services.
Executive councillor Philip Penman, who has special responsibility for resource management, talked of the uncertainty over the future structure of local government in the county
However, the financial strategy for the district council had been prepared on a "business as usual" basis, projected over a five-year period.
He said that further improvements to the council's performance management systems were working well.
And he went on: "We strive to put the customer at the heart of everything we do."
Mr Penman highlighted the All-Pay system which had been brought in for payments. .
He said that this was popular with most residents, with about £1 million being collected every month through the system, from 15,000 transactions.
"We are providing a better and more convenient service to our customers, and saving £100,000 a year," he said.
The Grove Theatre had been completed at the end of the previous financial year and had been showing an exciting programme of events.
Mr Penman said: "This was a magnificent venture, which is a credit to joint working and those members and officers that were involved."
He talked of a new contract for refuse collection and street cleansing, helping the council to meet recycling targets and maintain the high standard of cleanliness in South Beds.
The executive councillor also spoke of the makeover project for Bedford Square, in Houghton Regis, and the scheme to demolish and replace flats in London Road, Dunstable.
Car parking charges and local land charges would not be going up in the next financial year.
More capital resources would be spent on empty properties, to ensure that homes and gardens were in good condition when new tenants moved in.
Work on revitalising town centres was continuing.
Mr Penman said that £700,000 had been earmarked to improve the area around West Street and Ashton Square, in Dunstable. That would be paid for by a government grant.
He also spoke of the proposals to create a community football development centre in north Dunstable.
The councillor pointed out that a three-year government grant settlement had been lower than expected.
He concluded: "This is a prudent budget, which continues to improve services while keeping council tax as low as possible."
Who gets what?
The biggest chunk of the council tax bill goes on Beds County Council services.
Average band D households in South Beds will pay £1,123.47 for that part of the bill.
Another slice, £135.28, is earmarked for the Bedfordshire Police Authority, and £78.84 will go to Bedfordshire and Luton Combined Fire Authority.
South Beds District Council will take £158.59 of the bill.
On top of all that, average band D householders living in Dunstable will pay £126.91 for services provided by Dunstable Town Council.
Those living in Houghton Regis will fork out £122.71 for services from Houghton Regis Town Council.
For the latest news from Eaton Bray and beyond, get the Dunstable Gazette every Wednesday and make a daily date with Dunstable Today.
Source: Anne O'Donoghue, Dunstable Gazette, 5 March 2008
South Beds Council say households can expect to pay 2.99 per cent extra for its services from April 1 while County Hall has settled on just over three per cent.
The district authority's figure was settled on at a meeting of the council's executive committee and is to be approved by the full council on February 26.
This is the same increase as last year and lower than the current 4% rate of inflation. It averages out at £163.33 for a band D property.
The executive decided that the council needed a total of £15.6 million for 2008/2009 to cover net expenditure and to run its services.
Of this total, £8.8 million will come from the government direct through its annual grant to the authority .
The remaining £6.8million needed for council services will come from local taxpayers.
Council tax payers pay more than this in total, however, because about nine tenths of the total tax payment is paid to support Bedfordshire County Council, the county's police, fire and rescue service and the taxpayer's local town or parish council.
Executive member for resource management, Cllr Phillip Penman, said: "Our internal control systems are working well.
"There is pressure on our car parking budget but, while income receipts from car parking charges are down, we have no plans to increase them.
"Even with a poor government grant settlement, we are still able once again to present a budget to our residents which allows us to raise council tax by the lowest percentage of all major authorities in Bedfordshire whilst continuing to maintain services at their present levels."
Bedfordshire County Council has agreed a council tax increase of 3.8% for 2008/9.
The authority says this is one of the lowest increases likely to be set by a county council in the country and that it is below the level of inflation.
County deputy leader and cabinet member for Finance, Richard Stay, said: "This budget seeks to protect front-line services and invest in our priority areas which the people of Bedfordshire tell us are important to them. These priorities have not changed - more investment for schools, roads and adult social care.
"This is even more remarkable in the context of a hostile government which has 'floored' Bedfordshire for three years running, while favouring its friends on more Northern councils.
"Even if we had received the average of shire county settlements, Bedfordshire would have received an additional £5.8 million in 2008/9, equivalent to £39.00 for every band D property - or over 200 social workers!"
But the council is cutting spending by £1.4 million through savings in customer service, procurement and revised use of accommodation.
Its budget includes:
- £5.4 million for adult social care to address demographic changes and other significant pressures
- £1.5 million to priority areas within schools and continuing funding for building schools.
- Continued investment in roads and footways with an extra £400,000 of revenue investment plus capital investment of £7.45 million to take the council's total investment in roads maintenance to £20 million in 2008/9.
- £100,000 to fund three special constables to support community safety initiatives.
Council leader, Madeline Russell, said: "We are delivering on our promise to keep council tax increases down. We have listened and responded to residents' priorities.
"We are officially rated as a good council, and we are improving strongly, and this budget reflects the fact that we are well on the way to becoming a great council."
Beds Police Authority has agreed a budget that allows for an additional 24 police officers, taking the total to 1,274, the highest number in the force's history.
At a meeting today (Feb 15), the authority set a budget of just over £96million for 2008-2009, a 5.3 per cent increase on last year.
The council tax precept has been set at £27.494million (29 per cent of the total figure) with the remainder coming from the government.
This means that in the coming year a householder living in an average Band D property will pay £135.28 towards policing (around 37p a day)- an increase of 23p per week or 9.6 per cent over last year's precept of £123.43 for a similar property.
Authority chairman, Peter Conniff, said that he felt the decision to ask local tax payers to invest in their local police service was justified.
"Our consultation established that the majority of those questioned were willing to pay an increase of 11% or more towards policing," he said.
"The authority has lost approximately £4 million per annum since 2006/07 due to changes made by the Government to its funding formula.
"This year, it is seeking to redress the balance to give the chief constable additional resources to bring about performance improvements.
"Cutting crime and keeping people safe costs money.
"This budget will provide the chief constable with more resources, more officers and an increased capability."
Get the Leighton Buzzard Observer every Tuesday.
Source: Mick King & Jessica Vince, Leighton Buzzard Observer
The final council tax tot-up has taken place, so South Beds householders can now check out how big their bill will be for 2007/08.
Council tax bills are made up of shares for various different authorities, who provide all sorts of services for people in South Beds.
The last piece of the council tax jigsaw for the coming year has just been clicked into place, at South Beds District Council's budget-setting meeting.
Councillors voted through the Tory budget, which means that the district council's share of the council tax will go up by 2.99 per cent this year.
Executive committee councillor Philip Penman, who has special responsibility for resource management, said: "We are increasing the district council tax by 2.99 per cent - less than the rate of inflation, and so this is a reduction in real terms in the amount our residents will pay to us in the coming year.
"I have budgeted for the same low increase for the next four years, too. By running South Bedfordshire District Council efficiently, and by listening to what out residents want, I am delighted that we can provide a wide and growing range of high quality services, while reducing the burden of council tax."
Eaton Bray households Council Tax Bill 2007-08
- Band A: £983.37
- Band B: £1,147.26
- Band C: £1,311.16
- Band D: £1,475.05
- Band E: £1,802.84
- Band F: £2,130.63
- Band G: £2,458.42
- Band H: £2,950.10
Source: Dunstable Gazette, 7 March 2007
Beds County Council's Executive Committee is set to recommend a 4.33% increase in council tax for 2007/8. This is actually very slightly lower than the anticipated 4.75% increase predicted last year.
The full council will debate and vote on the budget at a meeting on February 15.
Cllr Richard Stay, Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for Finance, said: "The most significant factor in our spending plans and council tax is always the government's grant. We were expecting to be at the bottom of the heap for funding again this year and so it has proved. Last year we got peanuts - this year we got the empty packet.
"With that in mind we've done our level best to keep the increase down and we have been able to limit the pain more than we thought we would. But we know that council tax is still too high in Bedfordshire. We are working hard to work more efficiently so we keep the lid on increases, but keep on investing in the services residents tell us matter the most.
New investment in priority areas is a key feature of the budget. Community safety is also set to benefit from a funding boost and involve town and parish councils in a unique partnership.
A pot of £1 million is available for schemes to tackle the fear of crime, which according to an Ipsos-MORI Residents' Survey last May, is at a higher level in Bedfordshire than in London.
Town and parish councils would be able to access money to use on schemes such as Police Community Support Officers and facilities for young people.
Older people are set to benefit from a £2 million project for refurbishing care homes and extra money for supported housing, as an alternative to traditional residential care.
The growth agenda is also high on the council's priority list with £2.1 million over the next two years to support economic growth and bring new jobs to the county and over a quarter of a million to help manage housing growth.
There will also be capital investment in improving roads of £48 million over the next five years, and £150 million for improvements to schools.
Cllr Madeline Russell, Leader of the Council, said: "Setting the budget is always a difficult balancing act but we have remained true to our commitment to steadily reduce the level of council tax increases.
"This year, through consulting with residents on the services which matter most and working more efficiently we have been able to invest £4 million from efficiency savings in services which Bedfordshire residents told us matter most to them, and make sure that we have kept the increase in council tax as low as possible."
Assuming councillors pass the proposals, a band D household in Bedfordshire will pay council tax of £1,083.33 for county council services in 2007/8.
This is the major part of council tax bills, but smaller sums for other authorities, such as parish, town and district councils, police and the fire service, will have to be added on.
Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 23 January 2007
South Bedfordshire District Council is to collect council tax payments earlier each month from next spring.
The council's Executive Committee says that changing the collection dates for council tax and non-domestic rates from next April could make annual savings of over £150,000 for the council.
But in effect many householders who are paid their wages later in the month will find they have lost one of their two 'free' annual months.
At present, most people decide to pay their council tax in ten monthly instalments - these are collected from April to January, leaving February and March as 'free' months.
Depending on when people moved to the district, the current payment date is either on the 10th, 18th or 25th of each month.
The Executive have agreed to change the payment date to the 5th.
This will mean in practice that a lot of householders will find the April tax payment is being debited from their March wage packet instead of April's wages.
Executive Member with responsibilities for financial affairs, Cllr Philip Penman, said: "This minor change to the collection dates will make a real difference to our cash flow and should allow us to make significant savings. This will help us to continue to deliver high quality services while keeping council tax bills as low as possible."
The district council collects tax on behalf of the county council, the town and parish councils, and the police and fire authorities - it has to send a calculated amount to these agencies each month. Because much of the tax collected arrives after the time these external payments need to be made, South Bedfordshire District Council has to meet short-term financing costs.
Cllr Penman explained that well over half of the people in the district pay tax by direct debit. He added "This is the most efficient and convenient method of paying these routine bills.
"When the bills are sent out next March, I have asked that a direct debit mandate be included in every envelope. If even more people pay this way, we will be able to further reduce administrative costs and so have more resources available for front-line services."
Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 21 November 2006