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Parishes warn council tax will rise for some
8:10am Monday 4th March 2013 in News
COUNCIL tax may be frozen across most of Swindon in 2013/14, but residents in some areas could face increases in their parish charge of nearly 10 per cent.
Although the borough charge is staying the same, people living in most parish councils areas will see rises in the proportion of tax paid for services provided by their parish council.
For those living in a band D property, there will be a 9.8 per cent rise in Highworth from £103.74 to £113.90, a seven per cent increase in Stanton Fitzwarren from £70.41 to £75.33, and a five per cent increase in Wroughton from £95.82 to £100.61.
The band D charge increase for parishes across the borough is 1.7 per cent. Blunsdon and Covingham will actually see slight reductions, and there will be no change in Haydon Wick, Inglesham, and South Marston.
All parish councils have either maintained or even found savings to reduce their level of precept – their total income from council tax – but the average per household will rise in most areas due to the Government’s welfare reforms, meaning homes receiving the new council tax support benefit will no longer be included in council tax calculations.
To offset this impact, the Government gave extra cash to authorities which send out the council tax bills, and encouraged them to share some with parish councils.
However, Swindon Council decided not to hand out the £167,000 which would have mitigated the impact on parishes.
Tom Charnock, chairman of Stanton Fitzwarren Parish Council, said: “One of our esteemed borough councillors did a sort of letters reply in your paper saying that the council has held its council tax level for the last three years.
“Had he gone back another two years, he would have seen an increase there, whereas our parish council has reduced our council tax precept and even at the current level it’s still lower than it was five years ago.”
Stanton Fitzwarren is maintaining its level of precept rather than making savings. Coun Charnock said the parish council’s main areas of expenditure were insurance, street work and the parish clerk, which he claimed could not be cut further without impairing services for the village.
The borough council’s cabinet member for strategic planning and sustainability, Coun Dale Heenan, said in December the Government had not specified where the money should go, and the borough had to find £2m savings because of the council tax changes.
Wroughton Parish Council chairman Paul Hurst declined to comment.