Money, Money, Money

ABBA, Money, Money, Money, Gold: Greatest Hits

I work all night I work all day to pay the bills I have to pay, ain’t it sad And still there never seems to be, a single penny left for me, that’s too bad; so say ABBA, but in 2018/19 we’ll all possibly have less money if our Council Tax rates rise.

The proposals that Parliament will vote on next year to raise Council Tax will be welcome news to those who govern us at Shepway District Council & Kent County Council.

The table below shows how much and where the various elements of Council Tax you currently pay goes. (Data taken from SDC website)

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On the 19th December, a week before Christmas, Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for the Dept of Communities & Local Government (pictured) announced new proposals for the increase of Council Tax in 2018/19. His proposals are as follows for each element.

  • Maximum KCC increase 5.99% (up 2% on 17/18)

  • District Council such as ours, max increase 2.99% or £5 whichever is the higher (up 1% on 17/18)

  • Kent Police & Crime Commissioner increase £12

  • Kent Fire & Rescue, max increase 3%

Information supplied by DCLG.

One must bear in mind that at present there is no cap on what Town or Parish Council can charge. Also if one lives in Folkestone or Sandgate, the Folkestone Parks & Pleasure Grounds Charity adds a percentage to your Council tax bill as well.

The proposed rises in Council Tax will go before Parliament to be voted on sometime in the new year, so it is not definite that any rises will happen in line with what has been proposed.

However, in anticipation SDC and KCC will implement the maximum increases we have calculated the proposed increases across all elements for all Shepway Council Tax bands in accordance with the data released by DCLG. (The numbers do not include town or parish increases, nor Folkestone Parks & Pleasure Grounds Charity)

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KCC’s element is the single largest at 5.99%, up from 3.99% last year. This 2% rise is to cover the costs of Adult Social Care. Now to put that into perspective Adult Social Care costs were £70 million in October 2017 according to KCC Invoices over £250 data. KCC’s budget has set aside over £700 million for Social Care and this will no doubt continue to rise. It is this rise which adds most to our bills as you you can see from the table below.

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As we live longer this element/charge by KCC will no doubt continue to rise. This is a conundrum which needs solving, but how is the question.

Not all households will be able to absorb any proposed increases which may come. What with real wages falling, rising inflation and rising food bills, they can and have spelt disaster for some families and individuals in Shepway & beyond. Couple this, with a change in personal circumstances such as relationship breakdown, illness or the arrival of an unexpected bill can have a very real impact on people’s finances.

The poorest 10% of households in England & Wales spend 8% of their gross income after benefits on Council Tax. For the richest 10% the figure is 1%.

Although there has been a 29% decrease in the instruction of bailiffs by Shepway District Council, since 2014/15 that still means 2,501 people had a liability order raised against them in 2016/17. Bringing in the bailiffs creates extra fees. When one is faced with a stark choice of feeding oneself and one’s family, it is understandable why some elect to feed themselves and their children rather than pay their Council Tax bill.

Shepway District Council have used two enforcement bailiffs this financial year 2017/18, to collect unpaid Council Tax. The companies are Jacobs & JBW Judicial Services Group, who are ultimately owned by the global outsourcing group, Outsourcing Inc based in Tokyo Japan.

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There are now regulations – introduced in 2014 – which control bailiffs fees. These have been set by Parliament not the Council or the bailiffs. The fees are as follows.

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What may seem like a small increase – £98.62 for Band D, the average used by DCLG – can and does sometimes push families and individuals into debt with their Council Tax through no fault of their own.  If you, or anyone you may know, is facing problems with paying their Council Tax bill, we urge you not to bury your head in the sand, as it it will only get worse. Secondly, we advise you to contact one of the following organisations to ask for assistance as soon as possible.

Shepway Citizen Advice Bureau on 01303 241435. Or you can visit at Units 4 – 6 Princes Gate George Lane (off Rendezvous Street) Folkestone, CT20 1RH, on the following days:

Mondays

9.30 to 12.30

Tuesdays

9.30 to 12.30

Thursdays

9.30 to 12.30

Other alternatives are:

KSASS – Kent County Council

Or contact Stepchange on 0800 138 1111, Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 8am-4pm.

If it has got to the bailiff stage, then westopbailiffs.co.uk can help, there number is 0161 464 6115 and they offer a free call back service too.

And of course you can contact Shepway District Council on 01303 853000 or visit the Civic Centre. If you live on the Marsh you can visit SDC’s One Stop office in New Romney which has moved to New Romney Town Hall on Wednesday from 9am to 12 noon.

The Shepwayvox Team

 

 

 

About shepwayvox (671 Articles)
Our sole motive is to inform the residents of Shepway - and beyond -as to that which is done in their name. email: shepwayvox@riseup.net

2 Comments on Money, Money, Money

  1. Does SDC have a whistle-blower line to report evasion of business rates for example? Past experience of flagging up issues by friends suggests that alerting SDC should carry a health warning.

  2. The family & I are really beginning to believe that it is time the Shepwayvox Team replace Paul Francis Political Editor of the Kentish Express Newspapers. Your explanation of the possible rises in Council Tax is much clearer than Mr Francis explanation in the Folkestone & Hythe Express. Also you do not leave half the facts out of your articles. HNY 2018.

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