Cherwell freezes council tax for sixth successive year

Cllr Ken Atack
Cllr Ken Atack

Cherwell District Council has agreed to freeze its share of council tax demands for the sixth consecutive year

At a meeting of the full council yesterday (Monday), councillors rejected an option to increase Cherwell’s share of council tax bills by up to two per cent and instead voted in favour of maintaining the current rate of £123.50 per year for a Band D property.

However, residents will still notice an increase in their total 2015/2016 council tax bill after both the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley Police and Oxfordshire County Council agreed to increase their precept rates by 1.99 per cent.

Cllr Ken Atack, Cherwell’s lead member for finance, said: “It is a common misconception that just because Cherwell District Council issues council tax bills, we set all of the rates and keep all of the money.

“In fact, we are only responsible for setting our own share of the bill and of the money we collect, less than eight per cent is retained by the council; the rest is shared between the police, county council and town/ parish councils.

“This means that for a Band D [property] with an annual council tax bill of over £1,500, Cherwell will only receive £123.50 to help fund services such as bin collections, street cleansing and leisure centres.

“In times of austerity we are tasked with providing the same services to our residents but on a decreasing budget. We are proud that through careful budgeting and management we continue to meet that challenge and even prouder that we do so without passing on the charge to residents through increased council tax rates.”

Cherwell will issue the 2015/2016 annual council tax bills from March 9, which will include the increases as agreed for Thames Valley Police and Oxfordshire County Council. Depending on where residents live, bills will also include the decreases, freezes or increases as decided by local town or parish councils.

Of the money paid by residents, 7.7 per cent is retained by Cherwell District Council. The remaining funds are shared between Oxfordshire County Council (76.8 per cent),Thames Valley Police (10.2 per cent) and the local town/ parish council (5.3 per cent).

For a band D property this equates to £123.50 being paid to Cherwell, £1,232.46 to Oxfordshire County Council and £163.70 to Thames Valley Police plus the rate as set by the local town/ parish council.

For Cherwell the money will be used to help fund services including planning, licensing and economic development.

Stratford-on-Avon District councillors also voted to hold the authority’s share of council tax at 2013/14 levels at a full meeting yesterday, Monday.

The average Band D figure for Stratford-on-Avon District Council households for the 2015/16 financial year remains the same at £128.05, with a net reduction over the last five years.