A ruling at the High Court today could mean some of Sheffield's poorest residents will have council tax bills landing on their doormats for the first time. A decision by the city council to remove the 100% exemption from the tax was challenged by four residents - but thrown out by a judge.
The new rule, where even those worst-off would have to pay at least 23% of their council tax bills, is due to take effect on April 1st. The four complainants had argued that the consultation process that came before the decision was unfair and misleading.
Their lawyers also said the council had failed to properly consider the impact on vulnerable groups, including children and disabled people. Judge Supperstone said the setting up of a £500,000 hardship fund was "the best way" of helping those facing financial crisis.
Chesterfield Borough councillors have agreed to raise council tax by 6p per week for the average taxpayer to reduce the level of cuts to vital services.
Chesterfield Borough Council is dealing with a 38% reduction in its Government grant – which equates to £3.3 million over the next four years.
To help tackle the problem, the Government has told the council that as one of the 51 councils with the lowest tax rate in the country, it can consider a one off increase of 10p per week for a band D council tax payer.
Although Chesterfield Borough Council sends out council tax bills most of the money is collected on behalf of different authorities with:
74% of the total bill going to Derbyshire County Council to pay for services including education, roads and social services
11% going to Derbyshire Police
5% going to Derbyshire Fire and Rescue.
The remaining 10% goes to local councils for services including refuse collection.
It is always disappointing to have to increase council tax, especially in the current economic climate but with the level of cuts from the Government, it is necessary to provide the vital services we have to provide.
The Government has recognised the cuts would affect Chesterfield disproportionately because our council tax has been consistently one of the lowest in the country and would affect us more that councils who started the cuts from a higher tax base.”
Ryedale residents are to benefit after district councillors decided to freeze their share of council tax for the fourth year in a row.
Paul Cresswell, Ryedale Council's Corporate Director, said: “We are in a very strong financial position which is better than most District Councils and provide good services. This is thanks to continuous efforts of our staff to maximise efficiencies for the Council and focus on our residents.
“There are more difficult years of austerity to come but the Council has already started to prepare for these to minimise the impact on the services we provide”.
Residents in Selby will not face an increase in their Council Tax bills this year after the district Council agreed a further freeze in the charge.
The decision follows significant work to reduce costs over recent years, in response to a significant reduction in central government funding.
Since 2010 the Council has delivered savings of around £3.8m; this includes an ongoing saving of £1.4m achieved through a radical restructure of how the Council delivers services.
Selby Council leader Mark Crane, said, " Through our work to deliver ongoing savings we've put ourselves on a sound financial footing to be able to support our residents in this way.
"Because of our prudent approach over recent years we're also now able to invest in the issues that matter most to our area: supporting retail, jobs growth, developing housing and infrastructure, and improving leisure services: this includes rebuilding Abbey Leisure Centre.
The TaxPayers' Alliance will be campaigning against a proposed 2% Council Tax rise in York on Friday 23rd November . Activists will be meeting at 12.30 pm in St Helen's Square and will be rallying support among local people for a freeze in Council Tax for the next financial year.
Rotherham Borough Council has increased its council tax collection rate for the third year in a row. 97.7 per cent of Council Tax was collected across the borough.
This is particularly relevant during the current economic climate when every bit of funding is vital to help the Council to continue to provide excellent services to those residents most in need. Finally, the public should be assured that we will be taking further, positive steps to collect the outstanding debts."
The 88 year Great-grandfather, who usually pays his bill through his sheltered housing fees, had somehow fallen short so the council wrote to him to ask him to pay up. Mr Dicksen said they wasted more money sending the bill than he actually owed them.