The Save Adderbury web site is clearly making a new bid for the Booker Prize for fiction. The post dated 13-Mar-18 lambasts Adderbury Parish Council for planning to increase its budget (called Precept) by 8.5% pointing out that this is very much more than the current rate of inflation. What the anonymous author of this web site fails to understand is how council tax is calculated. The calculation is done in two parts:
- Each local authority decides how much it needs to spend to provide services to its residents. For Adderbury Parish Council, this is the annual budget and it is known as the Precept because the funding required is advised to Cherwell District Council which has the task of collecting the council tax.
- The precepting authority (Cherwell District Council) then calculates how many properties there are to pay the council tax in each parish. Households pay council tax according to the value of the property as set in 1993 and unchanged since then. House values are classified into 8 bands (A to H). Band D is the average level and will pay a standard amount of council tax. Band A pays 6/9ths of the standard amount while Band H pays twice the standard amount. The precepting authority translates all of the properties in its area into “Band D equivalents” also called “the taxbase”. Thus 90 Band A properties are equivalent to 60 Band D properties while 100 Band H properties are equivalent to 200 Band D properties. Once all of the properties have been re-calculated into “Band D equivalents”, the precepting authority divides the Precept by the total of the “Band D equivalents” to identify the standard sum to be charged as council tax.
Complicated? Just a bit but the effect is two fold. As more houses are built in a parish like Adderbury, the Parish Council will have to provide more services to meet the needs of an increased population so their annual budget or Precept will grow. However, the number of houses (expressed as “Band D equivalents”) will also grow and the council tax charged to residents will be a function of these two movements.
For Adderbury in 2018/19, the Precept did increase by 8.6% but the “Band D equivalents” or taxbase increased by 3.4% (from 1,263.5 Band D equivalents to 1,306). Therefore, the parish council element of the council tax for an average and D house will rise by 5% and, in cash terms means it will increase from £34.26 to £35.99 an annual increase of £1.73. The Office for National Statistics reports consumer inflation as 3%.
Hardly worth the fuss that the Save Adderbury anonymous author is making and probably not worth an entry to the Booker Prize for Fiction. Better to head for the Please Don’t Treat the Public as Stupid award.