East Devon agrees on Council Tax increase

IN line with many local authorities across the country, East Devon District Council has agreed to a Council Tax increase for the coming financial year.

This amounts to a £5 annual Council Tax increase for an average Band D property for 2020/21 to ensure it continues to secure crucial front line services for its residents and businesses.

The increase means the authority’s portion of the annual Council Tax bill for a Band D property will be £146.78 a year, or £2.82 a week, for all the services it provides.

The amount remains the lowest for a district council in Devon and one of the lowest in the country. The £5 increase, which was approved by the council on February 26, amounts to less than 10p extra per week.

The council takes 7p in every pound of the total Council Tax bill, with the rest of the money going to Devon County Council, Devon and Cornwall Police, Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, along with town and parish councils.

Councillor Ian Thomas, finance portfolio holder said: “Whilst the name East Devon District Council appears at the top of all resident Council Tax bills, we receive just 7p in every pound we collect on behalf of public services. Our district council still has the lowest council tax in Devon and is among the lowest in the country.

“Our council continues to offer excellent value, by delivering services efficiently and effectively. East Devon’s outstanding waste and recycling service benefits all, through weekly collection from over 70,000 properties.

“In addition to mandatory services we will continue to offer the discretionary services most valued by East Devon residents and businesses.

“Council Tax income generates only a third of our revenue. This means we need other sources of funding to replace continued reductions in government contribution.

“We expect these cuts will continue. As a result, combined with other budgetary pressures, our Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) currently projects a budget deficit of £1.6m for 2021/22. Further efficiencies, alternative income streams and priority of spending will therefore be needed to help us fill this funding gap.”

Reduction scheme for low income households

Despite the increase in Council Tax, the council has also approved a new Council Tax Reduction Scheme from April 2020 that will see many low income working age households better off. Pensioners will not be affected by the proposals.

The new scheme will:

  • Simplify the existing Council Tax Support Scheme, which involves a lengthy means test and complex legislation
  • Make it easier for customers to apply
  • Be better aligned with those customers on Universal Credit

The majority of the council’s existing working age customers will be better off from April 2020 as the council is increasing the maximum reduction off the Council Tax bill from 80% to 85%. So the minimum customers pay will be 15% instead of 20%.

This new scheme is being implemented following public consultation last year where 88% of respondents agreed with the council introducing an income banded discount scheme as well as increasing support from 80% to 85%.

The discount would be awarded depending on a claimant and partner’s weekly income and the number of individuals and dependants living in the household.

Cllr Thomas and Cllr Megan Armstrong, portfolio holder for sustainable homes and communities, said: “This council recognises the impact national cuts in welfare spending have had with our residents. This is one of the positive measures we are taking which will provide additional financial support with the Council Tax for low income working age households.”

More information about our new Council Tax Reduction Scheme is available on the East Devon website at eastdevon.gov.uk/benefits-and-support/council-tax-reduction/about-council-tax-reduction/ctr-for-people-of-pension-age/

Woodmead Halls
About Francesca Evans 2523 Articles
Francesca grew up in Lyme Regis and has worked in community journalism in the area since 2011, having gained a First Class Honours degree in journalism and her NCTJ qualifications at Southampton Solent University.

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