Agenda item

Council Tax 2013/14 (Agenda Item 5)

The Council is asked to pass a formal resolution on the setting of the Council Tax.

Minutes:

This item was taken after the Cabinet Minutes (Agenda Item 6). 

 

The Chairman drew attention to the note regarding Council Tax arrears which advised any Member more than two months in arrears not to vote on any matter concerning the setting of the Council Tax.

 

As Leader of Norfolk County Council, Mr Borrett withdrew from the room whilst the item was discussed.

 

The Executive Member for Finance and Democratic Services presented the formal resolution for the setting of the Council Tax for 2013-14.  He drew Members’ attention to the recommendation from the Cabinet meeting to set the Band D Council Tax rate at £69.03 for the year.  That represented an increase of £4.98 and was only possible because the Leader of the Council, together with many other Council Leaders, had lobbied central government to relax the referendum rules to allow Councils with low Council Tax to provide an optimal result.

 

Members’ attention was also drawn to page 139 of the report.  The Breckland Tax base for 2013-14 had been calculated at £37,565 which was a considerable reduction from the previous level of £43,635 and had happened because of the Localisation of the Council Tax Scheme.  If the proposed increase was approved it would still mean that the Council would actually collect over £201,000 less in Council Tax from residents than it had in 2012-13.  Despite that, frontline services would be maintained.

 

It was worth noting that despite the proposed 1.34% increase bringing the Band D rate to £1483 per annum, 69% of properties in the District were in Bands A to C and 45% were in Bands A and B, so the majority of Council Tax payers in the district would pay less than that.

 

He said that the Council would continue to implement policies designed to keep Council Tax as low as possible, whilst maintaining front line services.  It would also seek to increase its income by means such as the provision of new homes, in order to gain the New Homes Bonus.  The Council would continue to increase income by maximising the efforts of the very successful Economic Development Team.  Additionally, thanks to changes in legislation, they were able to retain some of the financial benefits of business growth in terms of the retention of business rates.  All of those measures would combine to ensure that the maximum income was achieved from available sources.

 

The Executive Member for Finance and Democratic Services concluded by thanking the Finance Team for their hard work and diligence in preparing the report.

 

The Leader of the Labour Group said that they reluctantly supported the increase in Council Tax, as otherwise it would mean a cut in services.  He was still concerned that poorer residents were being financially disadvantaged by the changes to benefits and quoted the case of a single mother of two who had had no choice other than to occupy a three bedroom property, because no two bedroom properties were available, and would be worse off because of that.

 

He was pleased that the Council had decided not to introduce charging for car parking and thanked all the people that had signed a petition against that proposal.

 

He suggested three amendments:

 

1.                  to address the lack of suitable affordable housing he proposed that the New Homes money should be ring-fenced for building new homes;

2.                  with regard to the  Special Responsibility Allowances, he said that Members should ‘lead from the front’ and proposed a 20% cut, which would save the Council £28,000; and

3.                  he proposed that the £28,000 saved by that cut, should be used to support High Streets in the District.

 

Mrs Canham seconded his proposals.

 

The Leader of the Council supported some elements of the Labour Group Leader’s speech.  He agreed that it had been clear that residents did not want car park charging and the Council had taken notice of their wishes. 

 

He pointed out that the New Homes Bonus was a revenue stream and he would much prefer to use capital money to build new homes.  The Council was already in discussion with Parishes about building new homes and was also putting pieces of its own land forward for that purpose.  He agreed that the ‘bedroom tax’ was affecting people who wanted to downsize but could not do so because of the lack of properties and said that the Council was working to ensure that the right kinds of homes became available.

 

With regard to the Special Responsibility Allowance he noted that the Independent Remuneration Panel had interviewed various Members and carried out research before making its recommendations.

 

Mr Cowen said that the residents in his rural wards had been kept up to date with the key issues of the Council’s finances and had asked him to pass on their thanks.  They were pleased that car park charges would not be introduced and content with the efforts to balance the budget by increasing the Council Tax.

 

Mr Jermy thanked the Leader of the Council for his gracious response.  However, he reiterated that the Special Responsibility Allowance needed to be put into context.  It was seriously wrong that it was so much greater in Breckland than in neighbouring authorities. 

 

The proposed amendments were not supported.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

(1)               the special expenses for 2013-14 be approved;

 

(2)         the formal Council Tax resolutions for 2013-14 be approved;

 

(3)         it be noted that on 28 February 2013 the Council calculated that:

 

                                            i.      the Council Tax Base 2013-14 for the whole Council area as 37,565 (item T in the regulations made under Section 33(5) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, as amended) and;

 

                                          ii.      for dwellings in those parts of its area to which a Parish precept relates as Appendix A of the report.

 

(4)     Calculate that the Council Tax requirement for the Council’s own purposes for 2013-14 (excluding Parish precepts) is £2,646,828.

 

(5)     That the following amounts be calculated by the Council for the year 2013-14 in accordance with Sections 31 to 36 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 as amended (the Act): -

 

(a)

£66,912,417

being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the expenditure items set out in Section 31A(2) of the Act;

 

 

 

(b)

£61,693,112

being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the income items set out in Section 31A(3) of the Act;

 

 

 

(c)

£5,219,305

being the amount by which the aggregate at (a) above exceeds the aggregate at (b) above, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 31A(4) of the Act, as its Council Tax requirement for the year;

 

 

 

(d)

£138.94

being the amount at (c) above, divided by the amount at (a) above, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 31B(1) of the Act, as the basic amount of its Council Tax for the year (including Parish precepts);

 

 

 

(e)

£2,626,194

being the aggregate amount of all special items (including Parish precepts) referred to in Section 34(1) of the Act (as per Appendix A of the report);

 

 

 

(f)

£69.03

being the amount at (d) above less the result given by dividing the amount at (e) above by the amount at (a) above, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 34(2) of the Act, as the basic amount of its Council Tax for the year for dwellings in those parts of its areas to which no special item relates;

 

 

 

(g)

The figures shown in Appendix Bof the report, being the amounts given by adding to the amount at (f) above the amounts of the special item or items relating to dwellings in those parts of the Council's area mentioned above divided in each case by the amount at (b) above, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 34(3) of the Act, as the basic amounts of its Council Tax for the year for dwellings in those parts of its area to which one or more special items relate;

 

 

 

 

(h)

The figures shown in Appendix C of the report, being the amounts given by multiplying the amounts at (f) and (g) above by the number which, in the proportion set out in Section 5(1) of the Act, is applicable to dwellings listed in a particular valuation band divided by the number which in that proportion is applicable to dwellings listed in valuation band D, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 36(1) of the Act as the amounts to be taken into account for the year in respect of categories of dwellings listed in different valuation bands.

 

(6)    That it be noted that for the year 2013-14 the Norfolk County Council and Norfolk Police Authority have stated the following amounts in precepts issued to the Council, in accordance with Section 40 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, for each of the categories of dwellings shown below:-

 

 

Band

Band

Band

Band

Band

Band

Band

Band

 

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

NCC

£763.38

£890.61

£1,017.84

£1,145.07

£1,399.53

£1,653.99

£1,908.45

£2,290.14

Nfk  PCC

£133.86

£156.17

£178.48

£200.79

£245.41

£290.03

£334.65

£401.58

 

(7)     That having calculated the aggregate in each case the amounts at (h) and (6) above, the Council, in accordance with Section 30(2) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, hereby sets the amounts shown in Appendix D of the report, as the amount of Council Tax for 2013-14 of the categories of dwellings shown.

 

Appendix E of the report provides some definitions for the formal Council Tax resolution above.

 

Supporting documents: