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Council tax in Bishop's Stortford: Government's £150 rebate cushions blow of 3.81% increase across the board



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For the first time, residents of a band D property in Bishop's Stortford will pay more than £2,000 for council services from April.

A 3.81% increase in council tax, amid the general cost-of-living crisis, means band D families will get a demand for £2,004.99 for 2022-23 – up £73.59 (£1.42 a week) on the current £1,931.40.

With the Government announcement last week of a £150 rebate for households in the four lowest council tax bands (A to D), band D residents will actually pay £1,854.99 – £76.41 (3.96%) less than their current bill.

This graphic shows how the four local authorities have increased – or not, in the case of the town council – their precepts over the last four years
This graphic shows how the four local authorities have increased – or not, in the case of the town council – their precepts over the last four years

However, East Herts Council, which administers council tax locally and gets to keep only 9p in every £1, is still waiting for full guidance on how it will work.

A council spokeswoman said on Tuesday (Feb 8): "So far central government has indicated it will not come off the bill and will be made in a separate payment. That is why we’ve been encouraging sign-up by direct debit so we can do this automatically.

"For those that aren’t on direct debit, it’s likely we’d have to have some kind of application process, which would slow down payment."

East Herts Council, whose services include refuse collection, administers council tax locally and gets to keep 9p of every £1 collected
East Herts Council, whose services include refuse collection, administers council tax locally and gets to keep 9p of every £1 collected

Families living in the four highest bands (E-H) will feel the full force of the proposed 3.8% rise, with those in the most valuable homes paying over £4,000 for the first time ever.

Council tax bills are made up of demands from four tiers of local government; in East Herts, these are all Conservative-controlled. Town or parish council spending accounts for 4% of the total, with 9% going to the district council, 11% to Hertfordshire police and the lion's share – 76% – to the county council.

The only respite comes from the town council, which is recommended to freeze its precept at £68.69 for a fourth year. In 2009-10, it asked for £74.15.

From April, Hertfordshire County Council is proposing a total hike of 3.99% – 1.99% to fund day-to-day services plus 2% to support adult social care. This will increase band D bills for 2022-23 by £58.68 (£1.13 a week) to £1,529.30.

Bishop's Stortford fire station in Patmore Close – the fire and rescue service comes under county council control
Bishop's Stortford fire station in Patmore Close – the fire and rescue service comes under county council control

The increase will help increase hourly pay for care workers to £10.30 – 80p above the national living wage of £9.50 from April.

Its proposed budget also includes £2m for an enhanced highways maintenance programme, £5m for decarbonisation match funding and £2m investment in children with special educational needs and disabilities, to manage growth in demand and create a sustainable service with targeted early intervention.

Cllr Bob Deering, HCC's cabinet member for resources and performance, said: "We've put forward what I believe is a positive and balanced budget. It includes a series of significant investments in areas we know are important to residents that will help deliver a cleaner, greener and healthier Hertfordshire.

"Over the past few years we've maintained services and delivered significant savings whilst we've all been living through the pandemic. We understand the challenges for our communities, with priorities and pressures on services not only growing but also changing along with the population of Hertfordshire."

The proposals will be voted on by the full council on February 22.

Herts Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd has increased his share of council tax bills by 36% in four years
Herts Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd has increased his share of council tax bills by 36% in four years

Herts Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd is proposing a 4.7% increase to fund another 110 officers to take the constabulary headcount to 2,377 by April 2023.

For a band D household, this means a £223 tab for policing and crime prevention in 2022-23 – up £59 (36%) in four years. His current 2021-22 levy of £213 represented a 7.5% rise from £198 in 2020-21.

Cash-strapped East Herts Council is poised to increase its precept by the maximum allowed – £5 for a band D household – to £184 a year. This below-inflation rise of 2.9% is set to be confirmed on March 1.

The council tax money collected will be shared between the following authorities, which provide a range of services:

Hertfordshire County Council

  • Caring for and supporting children, young people and families
  • Caring for the elderly and vulnerable and people with disabilities and mental health problems
  • Public health and supporting people with drug or alcohol problems
  • Fire and rescue service
  • Road maintenance and safety
  • Co-ordinating bus services and providing home-to-school transport for children
  • Recycling and waste disposal
  • Responding to major planning applications – for example, housing and mineral extraction
  • Economic development
  • Providing libraries, archives and local studies material
  • Trading Standards – protecting consumers against poor quality goods and services and upholding fair trading laws
  • Community safety (crime/anti-social behaviour reduction initiatives) and emergency planning

East Herts Council

  • Planning and building control
  • Housing and homelessness
  • Refuse collection and street cleansing services
  • Car parks and controlled parking zones
  • Leisure services – e.g. Grange Paddocks, Castle Gardens, Southern Country Park and most play areas
  • Environmental health

Bishop's Stortford Town Council

  • Allotments
  • Community centres
  • Cemeteries and closed churchyards
  • Leisure – Sworder's Field and some play areas

Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner

  • Policing and crime prevention
The current 2021-22 council tax sums for all eight bands
The current 2021-22 council tax sums for all eight bands


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