Residents of Epping Forest District will still pay the lowest Council Tax in Essex from April.
Lowest Council Tax in Essex
Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) councillors met and agreed a balanced district council budget for 2022 / 2023, before accepting the county council, police, fire, town and parish council precepts for collection in the next financial year.
Impact of COVID
Councillor John Philip Finance Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council said:
We are looking to keep these numbers as a ceiling. We are looking to drive numbers down, not up.
Before the overall Council Tax was agreed, John Philip recommended the district council budget. Looking back, Councillor Philip considered the position in 2019 before the pandemic, asking who would have thought of the impact of COVID on car parking, leisure centres and all our other budget income.
New council housing
Councillor Philip described it as a ceiling budget, calling for underspends wherever possible over the coming year. He was proud to highlight continuing investment including £76 million for new council housing and £87 million for improvements to existing housing over the next 5 years.
Around 300 new council homes are to be delivered in different guises across the district over next 5 years.
Speaking in support of councillor Philip, Housing Portfolio holder Holly Whitbread expanded on the bold and ambitious agenda for our council estates. In total, £185 million is allocated to housing capital budgets. Councillor Whitbread anticipated the huge regeneration project at Limes Farm and investment in Shelley, Ongar where new bungalows have been recently delivered,
Further investment in shared ownership schemes will support residents onto the housing ownership ladder. Helping people to downsize into appealing sheltered accommodation as they get older, will also helping younger generations gain access to family-sized council housing.
Council Leader Chris Whitbread noted the benefits of income generated through Qualis, the council’s new wholly-owned company.
Cost of living crisis
Recognising the pressures of the cost of living crisis on local families, Councillor Whitbread welcomed the government funded Council Tax rebate of £150 for residents in Band A to D properties.
He reflected on the challenges for residents and the importance of a budget to protect frontline services for the coming year. In future years, he said that further tough choices would be necessary. The council would require further transformation and change – all the things the council has been good at over the last 20 years.
Council Tax setting
Following the approval of the district council budget, councillors moved on to approval of the overall Council Tax. The small increase of £5 a year (for an average Band D property) equivalent to 2 pence per day, to cover the EFDC budget was met with approval across the chamber.
Councillor Philip reminded fellow councillors that although the district council collects Council Tax, it has no control over the level of county council, police, fire, town and parish council precepts.
Average Council Tax to be charged to taxpayers in Band D from April 2022
|Element||2021/2022 Charge £||2022/2023 Charge £||Increase in Charge £||Percentage increase %|
|Epping Forest District Council||152.46||157.46||5.00||3.28|
|Average Local Council Tax||222.14||228.31||6.17||2.78|
|Essex County Council||1,340.91||1,401.12||60.21||4.79|
|Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner||208.53||218.52||9.99||4.79|
|Essex County Fire and Rescue Service||73.89||75.33||1.44||1.95|
|Total Council Tax||1,845.47||1,923.28||77.81||4.22|
*Parish council charges vary between parishes and are shown as average values in the table for illustration purposes
- Local Council Tax breakdown 2022-2023 (pdf 118KB)
- All bands Council Tax breakdown 2022-2023 (pdf 95KB)
Councillor allowances and boundary review
In other business, district councillors voted not to increase their personal allowances and recommend a reduction from 58 to 54 in the overall number of councillors to the Local Boundary Commission review.
The annual pay policy statement, calendar of meetings, quarterly Qualis monitoring report and Overview and Scrutiny progress reports were received at Full Council.
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