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Chard to increase its Band D council tax by just 8p a week!
3:50pm Wednesday 30th January 2013 in News
COUNCILLORS reluctantly admitted this week that they had little option but to put up the council tax precept in Chard – albeit by just 8p per average Band D household per week.
Changes by Central Government relating to council tax benefit has had a direct impact on town and parish councils’ precepts up and down the country.
Members of Chard Town Council heard on Monday that the old system of benefits will be replaced with a local council tax scheme operated by South Somerset District Council.
Town clerk Sarah Robson said: “This has had the effect of changing the figure used to calculate the average Band D household ratings. The impact of these changes will be felt most heavily in the district by Chard.”
The council’s finance committee recommended back in November to work on a budget for 2013-14 of £530,854 – the same sum as for the current financial year.
But councillors heard on Monday that the changes at Central Government had left the council facing a shortfall of £16,230.
Councillors were told that they could either increase its Band D charge from £117.17 to £121.43, a percentage rise of 3.63 per cent, or make cuts to its services to offset the £16k shortfall.
Cllr Brennie Halse said: “If we don’t pay a little bit more we are going to have to cut the services we provide and people want more services rather than less.”
Cllr Sara Dowell added: “All bills go up and this increase amounts to just 8p a week – what can you buy for 8p a week these days?”
And Cllr David Bulmer said it was like a ‘chicken and an egg’ scenario. “We run a tight ship as it is and we need to maintain the level of services, but we can only do that with this increase” he said.
Councillors were told that its Band D charge of £121.43 was still more than £5 less than what people were paying in 2008-09.
The Chard precept makes up just one fifth of the overall council tax bill which will fall through letterboxes in the coming months.
The lion’s share of the overall bill goes to Somerset County Council with other sums going to Avon and Somerset Police, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, South Somerset District Council and the town and parish council where you live.