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Town council’s precept hike means tax bill is higher in Sawbridgeworth than Stortford

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Residents in Sawbridgeworth will pay more than people in Bishop’s Stortford in council tax for the next financial year (2021-22).

An overall 4.39% rise in council tax bills from April has been confirmed for people living in Sawbridgeworth, while those in Stortford are faced with a hike of 4.12%.

Residents in a Sawbridgeworth band D property must pay an extra £1.59 a week for councils’ services and policing – up £82.43 from the current £1,876.46 to £1,958.89. In Stortford, the new rate is £1,931.40

This figure is the combined total of contributions that go to Hertfordshire County Council (76%), Herts Police and Crime Commissioner (11%), East
Herts Council (9%) and Sawbridgeworth Town Council (4%).

The latter is raising its portion of the bill by 6.6% – an increase of £5.95 for a band D property.

This increase comes in part for the town council’s aim to give the SawboBus – its community transport scheme – a more certain future.

For the past decade, the bus service, which was set up in November 2009 to replace the axed SW1, 2 and 3 services, has received funding from the district council but the town councillors are expecting to see this grant cut by 50%.

SawboBus records an average of 22,000 passenger journeys a year, so town councillors are keen to see it become self-sustaining.

The town council’s precept rise is also a result of uncertainty surrounding the New Homes Bonus, a grant paid by central government to local councils to reflect and incentivise housing growth in their areas.

At present, this figure remains an unknown quantity and therefore this amount had to be set as zero in the budget.

Town councillors in Stortford froze their segment of the council tax bill for the third consecutive year, which is why their residents have a lower bill.

The three other authorities, however, increased their portions of the band D council tax bill. Herts County Council has implemented a 3.99% rise of £56.42 (from £1,414.20 to £1,470.62), East Herts Council is imposing a £5 rise, up from the current £174.09 to £179.09, and Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd has levied a 7.5% increase of £15 (£198 to £213).

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