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Council tax income set to rise after base tweak.

Byline: BEN O'CONNELL Local democracy reporter

NORTHUMBERLAND County Council should bring in more income from council tax next year, after an increase in its base was approved.

There are 153,306 dwellings in Northumberland, which are all placed in one of the eight valuation bands, A to H. For calculating the council tax base, the numbers are recalculated into a 'common base' of band D equivalents.

On Tuesday, the authority's cabinet agreed the council tax base for 2019-20, which equates to 104,816.7 band D equivalent properties - an increase of 2,148.02 on the current year.

Some of this growth is a result of the decision to cut council tax support for working-age claimants by 8%, meaning all households will have to pay something towards their bills from April.

This controversial reduction from 100% to 92% relief was finally approved at last week's full council meeting despite strong opposition, because it is set to save the council PS1m a year as it aims to cut PS36m from its budget next year.

But even if this hadn't gone ahead, Northumberland's council tax base still would have grown, largely due to the fact that there are 1,237 more homes in the county compared with last year.

The non-collection rate has also been reduced - to 0.7% - given the "consistent performance in terms of collection rates over the past few years".

Coun Nick Oliver, cabinet member for corporate services, said: "Setting the council tax base in turn allows town and parish councils to finalise their precepts and gives certainty to the budget process."

Towns and parishes should receive their figures shortly and the breakdown shows that while the majority have seen a rise in the number of band-D equivalent properties in their areas, a number have seen small decreases, particularly in the north and west of the county.

The council-tax base is a measure of the authority's taxable capacity for the setting of its council tax and legislation sets out the formula for the calculation and the requirement that the tax base is formally approved.

The medium-term financial plan approved by the council last February assumes a 1.99% increase in council tax for 2019-20, following a 2.99% hike last year, but the budget will be finalised at a full council meeting next month.


Coun Nick Oliver

County Hall, Morpeth

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 17, 2019
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