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Council agrees a 37 per cent precept decrease

By UttoxeterPostandTimes.3522974.UttoxeterPostandTimes  |  Posted: January 22, 2014

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UTTOXETER residents are finally to see a little relief in their council tax bills after councillors agreed to a decrease in the precept.

Uttoxeter Town Council has agreed its estimated precept requirement for the 2014 to 2015 financial year at £356,561, a deal unanimously agreed by the councillors.

This will mean the authority is asking for a 37 per cent decrease in the precept compared to last year.

Deputy mayor Karen Haberfield told The Advertiser the council had pulled together to manage their finances.

She said: “Due to the consistent financial management of the town council we are pleased to announce a significant deduction for precept requirements in the 2014/15 financial year.”

The authority has regularly come under fire for setting the highest precept out of the whole of East Staffordshire after seeing itself in financial difficulties and for necessary improvements to Uttoxeter Town Hall.

Last year, councillors found themselves at the centre of a row with East Staffordshire Borough Council after an administrative error on the precept form led to the authority claiming more than it needed.

The borough council said the clerk of Uttoxeter Town Council has stated in a press release that its precept represents a decrease of £36,604.75 for 2013/14.

However, it says in a form submitted to the borough council, as the billing authority, the clerk required a precept increase of 4.5 per cent, which equated to £15,485

The council is not the only authority looking to save taxpayers a little extra cash.

Staffordshire police and crime commissioner (PCC) Matthew Ellis said he wants to buck the national trend for police council tax increases.

Mr Ellis’ plans for a zero increase will be discussed on Monday with Police and Crime Panel members who will give their views before he makes a final decision.

The commissioner is responsible for setting the budget for policing, community safety and reducing crime across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent in 2014 to 2015.

He said his plans mean people in Uttoxeter will face no increase in the police and community safety portion of their council tax received by the PCC.

Mr Ellis said: “With a £4.3 million reduction in overall budget for 2014/15, the easy option would be to turn to local council tax-payers in Burton, Uttoxeter and elsewhere to meet the additional short-fall. But I don’t want to do that.

“Through good house-keeping I want to spend every penny of public money better, meaning local taxpayers are an absolute last resort.

“Budgets are in a strong position so that the financial challenges can be met. I’m going to continue to drive efficiencies, spend money more effectively in a joined up way and ensure Staffordshire Police and local authorities have the resources to keep crime reducing.

“This year, £2.5 million will be going to local areas to fund community safety projects, which is more than twice as much as ever before. Over the last 12 months, we’ve made good progress working with the police in bringing in new arrangements to make financial savings.”

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