Ain’t no rest for the wicked
Many of you already know Folkestone & Hythe District Council have had the highest council tax of all Kent local authorities for the last eighteen years.
Council tax is set by councils to help pay for local services such as the Veolia Waste Contract, The BAM Construction of a Leisure Centre on Princes Parade, and playgrounds for example. There is one Council Tax bill per household. This is based on its relative value compared to others in the area. There are discounts, including where only one adult lives in the dwelling. Bills will also be reduced for properties with people on low incomes, for some people with disabilities and some other special cases.
In March 2020, 4,532 households in our district were claiming Universal Credit. Those households in receipt of Universal Credit were eligible to make a claim for CTR. In April 2020, the number of households claiming UC rose to 6,548. By Feb 2021, 8,533 households in the district were eligible to claim for CTR.
At the end of March 2020 we know 9,145 chargeable households of all 40,615 chargeable households in the district,were claiming CTR. Or, 23% of all households in the district.
In 2020/21, the Council’s income from Council Tax receipts, from the 40,615 chargeable householders, across the district, was £64,847,250. Of course, not all the £64.8 million income is kept by the Council. They share it with the following bodies:
Kent County Council
Kent Police & Crime Commissioner
Kent Fire and Rescue Service
Folkestone & Hythe District Council (including Special Expenses charged on Folkestone
Town and Parish Councils.
Folkestone & Hythe District Councils’ income from Council Tax in 2020/21, was £12,878,000. This was from the 40,615 chargeable households in the district. This equates to one in every five pounds of the total (£64.8m), being siphoned of by the council to provide local services such as waste collection, environmental enforcement, building a leisure Centre and a £2.7 billion, 10,000 home garden town.
The Council were confident enough to state in Report Number C/20/14 dated the 24 June 2020:
The Council received £1.133m for the Council Tax Hardship Fund, which supports those in receipt of Council Tax Reduction(CTR). The Council has seen a significant increase in CTR caseload with 828 new cases during April and May, taking total caseload to 9,973.
The Council also received £150,000 from Council Tax Reduction Scheme grants, so a total CTR income from central government of £1,283,000, in 2020/21.
We know on the 1st April 2020, 9,143 households were claiming CTR and by the end of June 2020, and additional 2,266 households had claimed CTR, according to Cllr Prater back in August 2020 last year. This means at the end of June 2020, 11,409 households of the 40,615 chargeable households in the district, amounted to 28% of all households in receipt of CTR. That is a 5% increase in households claiming CTR in the first quarter of the financial year 2020/21.
While people were rightly claiming CTR due to Covid razing the local economy, people were still being pursued by council contracted bailiffs. Ain’t no rest for the wicked.
If the bailiffs are in pursuit of a householder for non-payment of Council Tax, this means the Council have obtained a liability order from the courts. This gives them the legal permission to collect the debt against the named householder.
Between April 1st 2020 and March 31st 2021, bailiffs contracted by FHDC collected £176,011. This represent approx 90 households across the district being pursued during Covid. This is equivalent to 0.22% of all households in the district.
The Cabinet Member responsible for all things Council Tax and bailiffs is Cllr Tim Prater (Lib Dem). His annual allowance for 2020/21 was £16,577.
The man responsible for turning around our local economy, for assisting people back into work, and off CTR, is Cllr David Wimble. Dave holds the Cabinet post responsibilble for building back a better local ecomony – levelling up. His annual allowance in 2020/21 was £16,833.
With Dave at the helm drumming up business to invest and create jobs across the district, this does NOT inspire us with confidence given his track record on Companies House. We suspect the numbers claiming CTR will remain high for a while yet.
If you’re having issues with paying your Council Tax ,contact the Council as soon as possible to see if you are eligible for any discounts.
For help and local advice on any debt for non payment of Council Tax contact theShepway Citizen’s Advice Bureau on 01303 241435
The Shepway Vox Team
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