Friday, 26 October 2012
Council Tax Announcement - Thanet District Council
Thanet District Council is likely to face a further 10% cut in central government funding for 2013-14.
The deeper than anticipated cuts to the council’s formula grant are likely to mean a slight increase in Council Tax for Thanet residents from next April.
Illustrative figures from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) show that Thanet District Council is likely to be left short of around £580,000 for the next financial year.
To fund the gap, the council has been forced to consider a small rise in Council Tax, which would mean an increase of £4.20 a year (8p per week) for an average Band D property. This is a 2% increase of the Thanet District Council element of the Council Tax bill.
Thanet Council collects Council Tax on behalf of other authorities. Its share is only 14% of the overall bill. The rest is split between Kent County Council (71%), Kent Police Authority (9%), Kent Fire and Rescue Service (5%) and town and parish councils (1%).
To help prioritise resources, the council is urging residents to take part in the latest budget consultation to ensure that the limited funds available are used on the services which matter most to local people. This consultation launches on Monday 29 October.
Cabinet Member for Finance, Cllr Rick Everitt, said: “Further cuts to the council purse are really unwelcome news for Thanet. Having already suffered a reduction of 28% in government funding over the past two years, resources are stretched to the absolute limit.
“We want to shield residents as far as possible.
“However, this additional reduction of over half a million pounds has forced us into a corner, and while we will draw upon other funding streams where possible, we’ve been left with very little option but to consider a slight increase in Council Tax as well.
“Although the government has offered funding equivalent to a 1% increase in Council Tax to councils who freeze their bills in 2013/14, this would still leave us with a significant hole in our budget next year. This would be deeper still from 2015 when that payment, and a similar one the council did accept for 2011/12, would both be withdrawn.
“I can’t stress enough how much we’re trying to do to protect local people from these budgetary challenges, which I hope is evident in our proposals for the new Local Council Tax Support Scheme. This is another scheme forced upon us by central government cuts, but one we’ve worked really hard on to ensure that we’re protecting the most vulnerable people in our community as best we can”.
He added: “With the level of cuts we’re about to face as an authority, it’s never been more important for residents to give us their views as part of our budget consultation. As the money raised from Council Tax goes directly to funding local services, we need to understand the priorities of the people who live here. That way we can ensure we’re targeting the limited resources we do have to the services that matter most to our residents.”
As budget planning is already underway, the illustrative figures provided by DCLG have been used to model the budget for next year. Final figures are expected in December and will be fed into the final budget proposals for 2013-14, which will be debated at Full Council in January 2013.
From Monday 29 October the council will be asking for residents’ views on their priority services. Visit www.thanet.gov.uk/budget from next Monday to take part.