The Whole Facts
And Nothing But The Facts
Actually, the ‘Whole Facts’ might be a bit difficult, unless we allow this Post to fill the website with gigabytes of information, so let’s just say, the ‘Basic Facts’.
For many years, Kettering Borough Council gave the Parish a sum of money in the form of a grant. This was for the Parish Council to spend on the general running of the three Parishes – Geddington, Newton and Little Oakley. In 2007, KBC announced that they would stop giving the grant, at that time £10,900, but to help Parishes come to terms with this, the grant amount be reduced over a number of years. The difference would have to be made up by the villages’ rates payers and it would appear on the annual Northamptonshire County Council Tax Demand, that we all receive in March. This, then, is the precept. The amount that each of us rate payers pay, depends on which Rate Band we are in.
As the grant was reduced, so the Parish Council has gradually increased the precept from the original £3000 to £9000 in 2015.
At the January 2017 Parish Council meeting, a proposal to increase the precept from £9000 to £20,000 was made and passed.
This raises two basic questions:
1. Why now?
2. Why this amount?
The simple answer to question one, is ‘Capping’. All tiers of government have a cap on their spending, and the amount they can ask their rate payers. All tiers except Parish Councils: they have no cap.
A Private Members’ Bill to introduce Parish Council capping at 2% was raised in Parliament in 2013, but it failed to get through. However, it is seen by many that it will passed in the near future.
What happens when a cap is in place? If there is not enough money in the Parish Council’s bank accounts, the Parish Council would have to seek funds to pay for any projects that the village would like them to undertake. There are a number of ways to deal with this, amongst them:
- Grants aids, from businesses etc
- Borrow the money
- Ask the villages if they can raise the precept (this would be done via a referendum)
- Reduce the number of projects
- Proceed with smaller projects
This brings us to question 2: why this amount?
The Parish Council have used the information passed on to them from the Parish Plan committee, in which there were three projects proposed for the immediate/long term future (to see these read the Minutes on the Parish Council page.) Although there are no costings for these projects in the Minutes, the precept increase would help to increase the Council’s reserves, so that future projects can be successfully completed.
In a Freedom of Information Request, concerning the proposed precept increase, the Parish Council said:
“The current thinking (of the Parish Council) is that we increase the precept from £9000 to £20,000. This will give the Council the funds over time to complete the projects without putting an unnecessary burden on residents to complete the work in one year.”