Archives of Eaton Bray News for the Category/Tag South Beds.
Skip navigation

Archived News - South Beds

Council tax shocker

This article was published in May 2008. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

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 Council Tax Bill for 2008-09

This article was published in March 2008. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

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

Council tax rises by 3%

This article was published in February 2008. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

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

County council set to increase tax by 3.8%

This article was published in January 2008. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Update: For the full amounts, see Eaton Bray 2008-09 Council Tax Bill

Beds County Council says its tax burden will increase by 3.8 per cent from April. But this is the lowest increase in its portion of the council tax in a decade.

It means a band D household will pay County Hall £1,123.46 - up from £1,082.33. The other 25 per cent of council tax payments goes to the police, the fire service and town and parish councils, which will be setting their budgets shortly.

County council deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, Cllr Richard Stay, said: "The county council intends to keep its promise to keep council tax down and protect the services people tell us matter the most.

This year's proposed budget will do that.

"Yes, there will be financial pressures in services like older people's social care, because of increased demand linked to an ageing population, but I believe we are well placed to deal with these and protect services as much as possible.

"We are also making sure that investment in public priorities remains strong.

""Surveys carried out in November told us that residents' main priorities have not changed, and that roads, community safety, care for older people and improving education were still services which mattered most to the people of Bedfordshire."

Cllr Stay said the Government had this year given councils across the country the worst financial settlement in ten years.

This means Beds and Bucks will once again get slightly less money from the government in real terms and year after year it's spending power is squeezed a bit more, forcing cut-backs.

By economising it has managed to make savings of £15.4 million in the last two years, with another £4.9 million expected by the end of the current financial year in March.

Council leader Cllr Madeline Russell claimed more savings would have been possible if it had not been for the uncertainty surrounding plans to cut away one layer of local government in Bedfordshire.

The Government has said it is "minded to approve" Bedford Borough Council's bid for unitary status, effectively abolishing the county council and apparently paving the way for a merger of Mid and South Beds councils into 'Central Beds'. County Hall meanwhile has launched a judicial review and remains confident of turning the tables.

Cllr Russell said: "The only way to keep council tax down and preserve essential services is through a countywide unitary authority.

"Our plans are the only efficient and effective option on the table."

South Beds District Council counters, however, that county is continuing to misrepresent the issues.

It says the district councils' financial forecasts have been rigorously checked and it is untrue that creating two new all-purpose unitary councils in place of the present pattern would damage services and lead to increases in costs.

South Beds says its detailed proposal is not based on cutting the budgets for frontline services.

The government's decision, expected in late February on the future of all four councils in the shire.

Across the border in Bucks, people living in Aylesbury Vale are facing an average council tax rise of 9p per week for the wide range of services they receive from the district council.

At a meeting last Tuesday, AVDC's cabinet agreed to recommend a four per cent rise for 2008/9, which equates to an extra £4.83 a year on a band D property. Householders in band D would pay £126.04 for the year.

A district council spokesman said the authority is planning to spend £20 million on services in 2008/9, of which £11.6 million will be provided by the government and £8.4 million will be raised through council tax.

In addition, the cabinet is recommending a capital programme of more than £100 million over the next four years.

Major spending schemes include the construction of the new theatre in Aylesbury, working with partners to deliver social housing across the district and a new multi-storey car park in Walton Street, Aylesbury

About 10 per cent of each household's annual council tax is kept by AVDC. The rest of the bill goes to the county council, Bucks Fire and Rescue Service, Thames Valley Police and local parish councils.

The final decision on the council's budget will be made on February 6.

Get the Leighton Buzzard Observer every Tuesday.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 22 January 2008