Friday, 10 January 2014

Number crunching the Council Tax in Frodsham

All the precepting authorities in England are finalising their budgets so that the council tax can be set and bills sent out later in March.  As part of my preparation work for getting engaged in the various debates I've been looking back at my council tax bills since CWaC came into being in April 2009.

In our part of Cheshire their are 4 precepting authorities - in other words bodies that are entitled to raise funds through the council tax.  They are:

  • Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC)
  • Frodsham Town Council (FTC)
  • Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire
  • Cheshire Fire Authority.
Now I've concentrated on CWaC and FTC.
So what did my number crunching reveal:

Now council tax is typically quoted per Band D property.  As my house is a Band E I've had to do a 'back calculation' to reach the Band D figures - so apologies in advance if these figures are slightly out.  If you are interested the differences between the bands is all a question of ninths from the Band D figure.  So Band D is 9/9, Band A is 6/9, B 7/9, C8/9 ... E 11/9, F 13/9, G 15/9, H 18/9.   To get from Band E to Band D you divide by 1.22

In 2009-10 CWaC levied £1226.27 and FTC £31.98 - making a total for these two councils of £1,258.25.

Now I used this as the base figure - and then, courtesy of the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and the Consumer Price Index Inflation (CPI) figures for March of each year  I worked out what the effect of inflation has been.

The CPI inflation figures are as follows:

March 10 +3.4%
March 11 +4.0%
March 12 +3.5%
March 13 +2.8%

When you do the maths you can find out that over the 4 years inflation has risen 14.42%.

So if CWaC and FTC had increased the council tax by inflation what would the combined Band D figure be?  The answer is £1,439.69.

What is the current combined council tax? The answer is £1,307.84 - a real terms decrease in the council tax of £131.85 or -9.2%.

Now FTC offers everyone over 70 a £5 voucher - so a household with an older person or with an older couple benefits even more.

FTC's Council Tax in 2009-10 was £31.98 - so an over 70s couple is paying less now in cash terms to FTC then they did 5 years ago (£38.54-£10 = £28.54) ever before you think of the effect of inflation.  The average Band D council tax for a parish council in England is £55!

In 2012-13 CWaC reduced its council tax by more than £8 per Band D property in Frodsham when they introduced the Special Expenses arrangements which levies charges on local communities for services provided to specific communities by CWaC.  The figure for Frodsham is £0.

I will do what I can to resist any increase in the council tax by any authority this year.  I have already proposed to FTC and FTC agreed that when setting the council tax for the 14-15 year it should not increase the current figure.  So the real terms savings look set to continue.