Fears council tax may rocket
COUNCIL taxpayers could see the amount they pay to their parish council rocket from next year or local services hit hard due to changes in government funding.
In Cirencester, taxpayers are already forking out around £5 extra this coming financial year to the town council and this is a common trend across the district.
In part, it is because parish councils are squirreling away extra reserves in preparation for "very testing times" on the horizon.
This year, central government has handed over responsibility for distributing parish council’s tax grants – at a slightly lower rate – to district councils and unitary authorities.
Cotswold District Council made the decision to pass these grants on fairly to towns and parishes across the district, factoring in further tax gains for areas where more people claim benefits such as Cirencester.
But CDC is not obliged to take this action and there are fears that next year the council will hold on to the cash and parish councils will lose out, with taxpayers forced to fill the gap.
Based on figures released at this month’s CDC cabinet meeting, Cirencester Town Council would lose out on around £90,000, Tetbury would lose £27,000 and Stow-on-the-Wold would lose around £12,000.
In addition to this crippling risk, central government could also force parish councils to cap their portion of council tax from next year.
While this would mean residents would not see council tax skyrocket, it could mean that vital local services such as youth provision and litter collection get the chop instead.
At this month’s Cirencester Town Council meeting, chief executive officer Andrew Tubb said the council needed to increase its reserves in preparation for cuts.
"This council and its officers are going to have very testing times ahead in being able to deliver the services that this council believes it is doing in the best interest of the community," he said.
"Next year it could be quite challenging if we’re capped or we don’t receive the grant."