Every January the Councillors have to calculate how much it will cost to fund the parish for the following tax year (The Precept). This is done after Councillors have considered both the current financial position, discussions, and suggestions and recommendations on its obligations from the Responsible Financial Officer.
Council’s budget is kept on a spreadsheet, allowing instant information on the balance currently remaining for any specific expenditure. Council approves all payments and the bank statement is shared at the meetings. This year has seen the unexpected expense of the Zoom subscriptions, and that the balance in the Section 137 funding account has fallen below the required level over the past few years. The National Association of Local Councils is lobbying the Government to allow remote meetings to be held past May 2021, the current legal limit, which may necessitate additional Zoom meetings. The amount required for Section 137 expenditure is calculated by multiplying the number of electors in the parish by the current allowance for 2021/2022 of £8-41per elector. As far as is possible to predict, the other account balances are adequately provided for.
An abbreviated explanation of Section 137 expenditure states:-
Section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972 enables local councils to spend a limited amount of money for purposes for which they have no other specific statutory expenditure.
In order to meet its obligations, Council has had to increase its precept this year by £740-00 – not a great deal in monetary terms, but as a percentage increase looks quite alarming.
Below is the information received from South Cambs District Council regarding Council’s precept request.
The precept will give a Band D equivalent for 2021/22 of £40.23.
This is an increase of £8.10 or 25.20% to the Band D equivalent charge in 2020/21.
The precept requested is £740.00 higher for 2021/22 than the previous year.
The tax base has decreased from 105.8 to 102.9 this results in an increase to the Band D equivalent cost.
Council felt it would be important to explain this increase to the parish before Council Tax bills are sent out for 2021 – 2022.