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Taxpayers hit with three per cent council tax hike

Published date: 21 January 2014 |
Published by: Emily Davies 
Read more articles by Emily Davies  Email reporter


 

TAXPAYERS in Oswestry will suffer a council tax increase from April following “one of the most difficult budgets to put together” in years.
But Oswestry Town Council's decision to bring a £2.04 – or three per cent – rise for Band D properties split councillors with some saying services should be cut back instead.
It means from April the local authority's precept for Band D households will be £69.92 per month, an increase from £67.88 in 2013/14.
Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee, Councillor.
Councillor Martin Bennett, warned: “Local government will be changing very rapidly now and 2014 is going to be the start of people noticing how much things are changing.
“We are going to be moving in a completely different world. But I think fortunately we are in a slightly better place than some councils.”
He also urged that the council start saving reserves for future budgets.
However, Cllr Chris Stokes, who was one of four members to vote against the increase with 12 in favour, said: “I really think we should be looking at cutbacks and not hitting our constituents with this.
“I am against this increase.”
Cllr Bill Benyon added: “In the past three years I have opposed an increase but I am pleased to support a three per cent increase.
“It is not a lot, but I do know it is for those who are hard up.”
Potential expenses concerning the council include car parking, CCTV which is currently being reviewed by Shropshire Council and rents, while all services provided by the town council are to be reviewed over the next 12 months.
Clerk to the town council, David Preston, said it had been “one of the most difficult budgets to put together”, despite still benefiting from from Council Tax Support from Shropshire Council, which has been cut by the Government.
He continued: “There is a requirement to do a lot more for less and it is a question of how do we achieve that; it is a very difficult situation.”
Shropshire Council had confirmed it will not be increasing its council tax precept in 2014/15, however both West Mercia Police and Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service are predicting a precept increase.
“We are going to be moving in a completely different world. But I think fortunately we are in a slightly better place than some councils.”
He also urged that the council start saving reserves for future budgets.
However, Cllr Chris Stokes, who was one of four members to vote against the increase with 12 in favour, said: “I really think we should be looking at cutbacks and not hitting our constituents with this.
“I am against this increase.”
Cllr Bill Benyon added: “In the past three years I have opposed an increase but I am pleased to support a three per cent increase.
“It is not a lot, but I do know it is for those who are hard up.”
Potential expenses concerning the council include car parking, CCTV which is currently being reviewed by Shropshire Council and rents, while all services provided by the town council are to be reviewed over the next 12 months.
Clerk to the town council, David Preston, said it had been “one of the most difficult budgets to put together”, despite still benefiting from from Council Tax Support from Shropshire Council, which has been cut by the Government.
He continued: “There is a requirement to do a lot more for less and it is a question of how do we achieve that; it is a very difficult situation.”
Shropshire Council had confirmed it will not be increasing its council tax precept in 2014/15, however both West Mercia Police and Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service are predicting a precept increase.

 

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