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Brightlingsea
Apr 17 2024
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Council tax increase aims to combat overspending, inflation and reduced government funding

Brightlingsea Town Council’s share of council tax is to increase by 13% as it seeks to bring its finances back on an even keel following years of overspending.

After the increase, the town council will raise £231,536 in council tax from local householders. The council has been reviewing its finances after discovering that it had been overspending by up to £30,000 a year and making up the shortfall from its reserves. In addition, it faces increased staff costs and other inflation-linked increases.

Following approval at the council’s January finance committee meeting, the 2024/25 precept – its share of council tax – will be £76.07 a year for a band D property, an increase of £8.91.

In December, Sue Walsh, a town councillor who was working to bring the council’s finances back on track, resigned after alleging that she was bullied. Brightlingsea Info understands that an official complaint has been made to the monitoring officer at Tendring District Council, which has responsibility for town and parish council governance in the area.

Essex County and Tendring District Councils will also be imposing council tax increases. The county council takes the largest share and has announced a 2.99% increase, plus a 2% adult social care precept – £1.39 a week for a band D household.

“A combination of continuing high interest rates and inflation, growing demand for services and a disappointing financial settlement from central government are all factors impacting budget decisions,” said a council statement.

The district council has also increased its share by 2.99%, bringing its annual band D bill to £193.93, or £3.72 per week.

an increase in business rate income of £1.4m, and an increased grant from government helped to subtantially reduce a forecast deficit at Tendring, down to £262,000 from the previous estimate of £1.7m.

“While we are in a good financial position, especially compared to many other councils, we still face a number of cost pressures largely outside of our control – in particular inflation and long-term reduced government funding,” said council leader Mark Stephenson.

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