CABINET CALL: By South Holland District Council Leader Gary Porter
As I write we are just finalising the proposed budget for next year, so I wanted to use this month’s column to talk to you about the council tax... more specifically about what we are doing to reduce the burden, and what you can do to spread the cost.
Once again we are aiming to cut our portion of next year’s bill, which will be the fourth year running we have done so.
I am proud that South Holland is one of only half a dozen councils in the country to deliver year on year reductions in council tax for its residents, which, when added to the freeze we introduced in 2010, means a real terms cut of around 16 per cent over five years.
But what you pay us for the wide range of district council services is just one small part of your bill. We have no control over what other bodies, such as the county council and police, are going to charge.
What we can control though, thanks to the government’s response to South Holland’s calls for change, is the number of instalments available to pay over.
We lobbied the Government to allow us to collect the council tax over 12 instalments, the same as your gas or electricity bill, your TV licence or a whole host of other bills, instead of 10.
To avoid delays from a long, drawn out process of changing the law, they agreed that anyone who got in touch to ask for the choice of paying over 12 monthly payments instead of 10 could do so.
To date nearly 1,000 of you have taken the opportunity to ease the burden by spreading payment over the full year.
This year I would love you all to ask to pay over 12 months by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if possible by February 24 (though you can do it any time).
So what could paying over 12 months instead of 10 mean for you?
Well for the majority of residents, who are band A or B, next year it could reduce your monthly payment by between £16 and £19, while for those in band C or above the reduction could be £21 or more every month.
We are constantly working to help South Holland residents, both by providing high-quality local services and through keeping the council tax as low as possible.
I hope that, just like I have done, you will accept our offer to spread the cost of paying over the full year.