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COUNCIL TAX: Further information provided on what 2022/23 bills will look like

COUNCIL TAX: Further information provided on what 2022/23 bills will look like

Council chiefs have provided further information on what council tax bills will look like for residents in Hartlepool next year.

Hartlepool Borough Council chiefs confirmed last month they will freeze council tax for residents in the town for 2021/22, and will also not implement an increase in the adult social care precept.

It has now been confirmed Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner will increase its council tax precept for Band D properties by £5.19 for the year, substantially below the national limit of £15.

Cleveland Fire Authority also confirmed last week it will increase its council tax precept by 1.9%, which equates to a £1.50 annual rise for Band D properties.

Chris Little, council director of resources and development, told the finance and policy committee this means residents will see bills go up by 0.32% in total, subject to any parish council precepts.

He said: “Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner has actually agreed an increase at Band D of £5.19, so substantially below the limit they’re allowed and their increase works out at 1.99%.

“Cleveland Fire Authority approved a 1.9% increase which is £1.50 at band D.

“Reports to council will set out that when you incorporate the freeze for the council tax and the freeze in the adult social care precept, the overall bill that people will pay without the parish council precept will go up by 0.32% on the year.

“That just reflects the mix of the different council taxes that make up the overall figure.”

A final report on the council tax calculations for the year will go to the next meeting of full council later this month.

Cllr Christopher Akers-Belcher also called for a further update and clarification on what the council is doing to help those claiming local council tax support (LCTS), following lengthy debates at recent meetings.

He said the Local Government Settlement states council’s will get a share of £670 million to go ‘up and above’ to help those claiming council tax support.

He said: “We’ve received a share of £670 million and we’re actually doing nothing up and above what we normally do under LCTS to help those hardest hit because of the pandemic with regards to their council tax.”

Cllr Shane Moore, council leader, stressed how the local authority already goes ‘above and beyond’ with the 12% support scheme in place, further aided by the council tax freeze.

He said: “We go above and beyond with the local council tax support scheme we already have in place and we’ve frozen council tax for everybody, meaning that those residents would not pay any extra on top of that.”

Mr Little clarified Hartlepool is receiving £1.869million from the £670million national pot to support local authorities to meet the additional costs of providing local council tax support in 2021/22.

He added for 2020/21 council’s were ‘effectively mandated’ to provide further support to local council tax support claimants, but for 2021/22 it is at their discretion how they use funding provided.

He said: “This is another one where, I’ll be quite honest with you, I think the Government has been a bit disingenuous with some of the way they’ve presented some of the information.

“It’s a completely different picture to the current year where the Government did provide funding to authorities and effectively mandated us to make a further reduction in the local council tax support households bills, they’re not doing that for 2021/22.”

He said from the £1.869million, £872,000 will be used to offset the loss of income from an increase in LCTS claimants.

Following on from the decision at the previous meeting, £985,000 will be allocated to ‘offset the loss of income’ from the council tax freeze and to ‘protect all council tax payers and the council’s budget’.

Words: Nic Marko, Local Democracy Reporter

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