Our council tax rise will add £1.87 to band D bills

Wed 13 Feb, 2019


Coins


Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire Authority agreed a 2.98 per cent council tax rise at its meeting today (Wednesday 13 February 2019).

This means that the amount paid by a band D taxpayer will go up from £62.70 a year to £64.57 a year. This £1.87 increase, which equates to about 16p a month, will come into effect on 1 April 2019.

Members set a budget for 2019-20 of £30.3 million, which is about £1.8 million more than last year. Mark Hemming, Director of Finance and Assets, said: “Although the budget has increased by £1.8 million since last year, £1.6 million of this increase is as a direct result of an increase in employer pension contributions to unfunded pension schemes and is outside our control.

“Although the Government has committed to funding the majority of the cost of this increase for 2019-20, no assurances have been given regarding funding for future years. We have been able to balance the medium-term budget by significantly reducing our planned capital expenditure, but this is not sustainable in the longer term. The three per cent council tax referendum limit continues to restrict services with the lowest council tax bills."

Councillor Roger Reed, Chairman of Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire Authority, said: “We will continue to make our case to the Government in the hope of securing additional funding next year. However, should this not be forthcoming, the Fire Authority has discussed the possibility of holding a referendum to increase council tax by more than the three per cent limit.

"This is not a decision that would be taken lightly given the high cost of holding a referendum and the impact on the local taxpayer. However, it is something that must be considered if the Government is unwilling to grant additional local discretion in setting our council tax while burdening services with ever-increasing costs of employing staff.

“Our staff continue to work hard to ensure our service is one of the most efficient fire and rescue services in the country. For example, a rise in the region of an extra £10 a year on council tax would still put us below the average for fire authorities across England.”

Less than 4p from every £1 of council tax paid in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes goes to Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service. Council tax bills in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes will be sent out next month, and the totals per home to pay for Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service in 2019/20 are shown at the top of the page.