Council Tax rates for 2023 to 2024 were set at the meeting of Council on 28 February.
Epping Forest District Council sets the overall local Council Tax for collection based on its own precept and those set by:
- Essex County Council
- Essex Police
- Essex Fire and Rescue
- Local town and parish councils
Agreeing their own 2023 to 2024 budget earlier in the meeting, councillors also confirmed what is expected to be the lowest district council precept in Essex.
Table showing Council Tax charge for an average Band D property
|Element||2022 to 2023 charge||2023 to 2024 charge||Increase £||Increase %|
|Epping Forest District Council||£157.46||£162.15||£4.69||2.98%|
|Parish councils *||£70.85||£76.19||£5.34||7.54%|
|Average local Council Tax||£228.31||£238.34||£10.03||4.39%|
|Essex County Council (including adult social care precept)||£1,401.12||£1,450.17||£49.05||3.50%|
|Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (Police Authority)||£218.52||£233.46||£14.94||6.84%|
|Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (Fire and Rescue Authority)||£75.33||£80.28||£4.95||6.57%|
|Total Council Tax||£1,923.28||£2,002.25||£78.97||4.11%|
* Parish council charges vary between parishes and are shown as average values in the table for illustration purposes.
A balanced budget to protect frontline services
High inflation and the cost-of-living crisis have presented all councils with financial challenges. The district council budget set against inflation levels of 10% or more, represents a real-terms financial cut, while maintaining public services. Some very tough choices are being made. A managed reduction in staff levels will include the removal of vacant posts and a small number of redundancies.
The budget protects investment including the new leisure centre for Epping, the North Weald refuse vehicle depot, and a fleet of new refuse and recycling trucks. Contingency money has also been set aside to manage the waste and recycling contract over the next 18 months.
Although the total 2023/4 Council Tax for a Band D property will be £2,002.25, Epping Forest District Council only retains £162.15 for its own services. At 2.98%, its Council Tax increase adds only 9p to the weekly cost of an average Band D property.
Finance Portfolio Holder John Philip emphasised the importance of balancing the budget. He expected continuing financial challenges over the next year. However, the council continues to fund additional services such as the highway rangers and extra police officers as well as capital funding to build more council houses whilst maintaining and enhancing the existing housing stock.
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