Keeping the council tax low

In Frodsham our council tax is made up of 5 elements.  They are:

  1. Cheshire West and Chester's standard charge;
  2. Cheshire West and Chester's special expenses;
  3. Frodsham Town Council's charge;
  4. Police and Crime Commissioner's charge; and
  5. Cheshire Fire and Rescue authority's charge.
Council tax rates are always quoted on a Band D basis.  Band D is chosen as it is meant to represent an average house.  All the other tax bands can be calculated from the Band D rate.  It all works on ninths starting at Band D.  A Band D household pays 9/9ths of the Band D rate.  A Band E household pays 11/9ths etc..  The table below sets out the proportions payable as against the Band D rate. 

 Band A Band B Band C Band D Band E Band FBand G Band H
 6/9 7/9 8/9 9/9 11/9 13/9 15/9 18/9

A Band A household pays 2/3rds of the Band D rate.  A Band H household pays double the Band D rate.

The effect of inflation - an 14% real terms reduction

The following article was written last year - the latest position can be seen on the Video page.

CWaC took over local government services from 1 April 2009.  It is interesting to see how the council tax has changed over time since then and what the effect of inflation has been.

This chart uses data from the Office of National Statistics for Consumer Price Inflation for the years since 2009 as well as CWaC's own published data for the council tax.  From March 2009 to March 2014 the Consumer Price Inflation has risen 16.25%.  The orange bars show what the Band D council tax would have been had it increased with inflation. The blue bars show what the Band D council tax actually set was.  The council tax figures quoted here include CWaC, Police and Fire elements, but not FTC or Special Expenses.

Over the period 2009-2014 the Band D council tax quoted has risen from £1,429.27 to £1,497.53.  That is a 4.78% rise over 5 years.  But as inflation over that period was 16.25% in real terms the council tax has fallen by 11.47%. 

When one takes account of Special Expenses and FTC's council tax the position improves further.  

Looking at just CWaC's element of the council tax alone - in Frodsham the Band D rate paid in 2009-10 was £1,224.04, for 2014-15 it is £1,267.57.  CWaC's element of the council tax has risen less than 4% over that period.  That is more than a 12.25% fall in real terms.

Special Expenses were introduced by CWaC with effect from April 2012 to levy a charge on particular parts of the Borough where CWaC paid for items which elsewhere were paid for by the parish council.  CWaC's general council tax was reduced by just over £8 with the introduction of the Special Expenses.

Frodsham was one of only a handful of communities where no Special Expenses were levied by CWaC so our CWaC council tax fell by a small amount - just over £8.  This was because local council tax payers pay for things such as the police community support officer, FTC play areas and Christmas lights via Frodsham Town Council and not CWaC.

For the year from April 2012 FTC increased its council tax by just over £8 in the year on a Band D property so as to net to zero the effect of CWaC's small reduction in council tax given the introduction of the Special Expenses arrangements.  FTC has not increased its council tax since then at all.  The current FTC Band D charge is £38.47 for the entire year.

In fact if you look at FTC's council tax since 2009-10 it has changed from £31.92 to £38.47 over the period.  If you deduct the £8.27 'special expenses discount from CWaC' you find that FTC's net council tax now is actually the equivalent of £30.20.  That is a reduction of 5.3% - which with the effect of inflation means that FTC's council tax payers are paying a precept that is 21% less in real terms now.

The average council tax charged by a town or parish council in England for the Year 2014-15 is £52.74 (source DCLG Council tax levels set by local authorities in England 2014-15).  FTC's council tax is £14.27 or 27% lower than this average figure.

Frodsham residents pay less council tax than in any other parished town in the Borough - that is less than Winsford, Neston and Northwich.  The council tax paid in Frodsham is less than our near neighbours in Helsby and Elton too.

For the record the precept charged for Cheshire Police was £140.70 in 2009-10.  It has risen to £153.21 (2014-15).  That is an increase of just short of 9% in the period - netting to a real terms reduction of around 7.25%  Cheshire Fire and Rescue Authority's precept was £64.53 in 2009-10.  For 2014-15 it is now £69.09.  That is an increase of just over 7% in the period or a real terms reduction of c9.25%