Cherwell councillors agree to freeze share of council tax for seventh year

Cllr Ken Atack ENGNNL00120110727124458
Cllr Ken Atack ENGNNL00120110727124458

Residents will pay the same amount of money towards Cherwell District Council’s services as they did in 2009 after councillors froze its share of council tax for the seventh consecutive year.

At a meeting of the full council yesterday (Monday), councillors agreed to retain its current council tax rates and reject the option to increase bills by up to £5 (four per cent).

Councillor Ken Atack, Cherwell’s lead member for finance, said: “Although Cherwell collects council tax bills on behalf of Oxfordshire County Council, Thames Valley Police and the town and parish councils, each authority is responsible for setting their own rates.

“While others have accepted the option to increase their share, we have once again agreed to freeze our contribution which means residents will continue to pay the same amount towards our services as they did in 2009. Therefore a Band D property with an annual council tax bill of approximately £1,600 will still only pay £123.50 a year towards Cherwell’s services.”

However as both Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) and the police and crime commissioner for Thames Valley Police did increase their rates by 1.99 per cent, residents’ overall council tax bills will increase for 2016/ 2017.

In addition, Oxfordshire County Council included a new precept for Adult Social Care which is a two per cent increase, making their total 3.99 per cent. The precept was introduced by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to help county councils to meet the expenditure of adult social care.

Mr Atack said: “It is no secret that local councils have to tighten their budgets and at Cherwell our priority is to ensure that we continue to provide the same level of service to residents as we always have. “Through initiatives such as joint working with South Northamptonshire Council, Cherwell has been able to generate savings to ensure services such as bin collections, leisure centres and street cleansing, continue to be provided but at no extra cost to the taxpayer.”

Cherwell will issue the 2016/ 2017 council tax bills from 8 March. These will include the increases as agreed by the police and crime commissioner for Thames Valley Police and Oxfordshire County Council as well as Cherwell District Council’s decision to freeze its share.

Depending on where residents live, bills will also include the decreases, freezes or increases as decided by local town or parish councils.

This means of the money paid by residents, 7.4 per cent is retained by Cherwell District Council. The remaining funds are then shared between Oxfordshire County Council which takes 75.7 per cent and a further 1.5 per cent for Adult Social Care; Thames Valley Police which keeps 10.1 per cent and the local town/ parish council which is paid the remaining 5.3 per cent.

On receiving their bill, residents can choose to either pay their bill annually, over ten months until January 2017 or over 12 months until March 2017.

Payments can be made by a direct debit, over the phone, at a bank or by using any Cherwell District Council’s Link Point.