Town and Parish councils precepts

None of the parties has mentioned anything about correcting the anomaly that allows town and parish councils to increase their share of the council tax bill (their precept) by more than the cap that applies to other, higher authorities. Being well aware that the cap does not apply to town and parish councils, a growing number of higher-level councils (County/District/Borough/City) are starting to off-load some of their non-statutory duties onto town and parish councils in their area – but keeping the money that they would have had to spend on these duties. This off-loading has meant that many town and parish council precepts have rocketed such that, in a growing number of cases, the amount demanded by the town/parish is as much as, or even more than, the amount demanded by the district/borough council.

In a Green Paper way back in 2000, and in another document issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government in 2002, the current government has admitted that this off-loading can also lead to double taxation, in that householders can be charged twice for the same services. Even though the current government have been aware of this possible double-taxation business for 10 years, and have issued Green Papers and other reports about it, neither they, nor any of the other parties, has said anything about putting a stop to it.


Late news: Government figures released on 24 March reveal that the average Band D council tax set by local authorities in England for 2010-11 will be £1,439 compared with £1,414 in 2009-10. This equates to an average increase between 2009-10 and 2010-11 of 1.8%. The report goes on to say that parish precepts will rise by an average of 4.8%. Note – average! We have heard of a number of parish precepts rising by over 10% and a few by substantially more (well over 50% in some cases).