Forest of Dean - Local Council Tax Support grant update

Dear FOD Parish and Town Councils,

Local Council Tax Support (LCTS) grant

Background

From 2013 – 14, the council tax base reflected the actual amounts paid by residents who pay less council tax as a result of a local support scheme. As a result, the council tax base has decreased in most areas. Where it decreased, the same level of parish/town council precept produced less revenue, from the same number of properties, than it did prior to 2013-14.

Hence, where the council tax base is reduced, parish and town council received less money from the precept than previously.

The funding for council tax support schemes provided to billing authorities from 2013-14 included a sum in respect of the funding that would be lost to parish/town councils as a result of this decision and in the FOD this was passed on to councils and identified separately as LCTS grant. It should be noted, the Government did not oblige billing authorities to pass this sum on to parish and town councils.

Forest of Dean District Council

The FOD DC has passed on the LCTS grant and the DC identify the grant that each parish/town council will be awarded; they send each parish/town council a precept form, where one figure (the annual budgetary requirement) is identified. This is submitted to FOD DC, and the DC then deduct the grant, to calculate the precept. For example, a parish council identifies a budgetary requirement request of £100,000, the grant equates to £20,000, and therefore the parish precept is £80,000.

As the LCTS grant is an 'unringfenced' grant in the hands of the billing authority identified for parish/town councils, the parish/town council should identify how the grant monies is budgeted. The grant should be included in the income calculation. Providing an identifiable sum separate from the precept is useful for transparency purposes.

Resolution meeting

Lydney Town Council queried the way the information was presented, questioning due process. A meeting was convened on 14th January 2016 between FOD DC, FOD Town Councils (Lydney, Cinderford, Newent, and Coleford), and GAPTC to identify a resolution to this matter.

The following was agreed: -

  • ·The layout of the 'Council Tax Booklet' would be amended to provide clarity to parish/town councils on the precept, LCTS grant and the information required.
  • ·The precept form will be updated to identify the precept requirement, and the LCTS.
  • ·Where councils have identified two figures (see above bullet point), the FOD DC will pay over the LCTS grant (unconditionally) as a single sum by 30th April 2016, separate from the precept. The precept will be paid in two equal instalments by 30th April 2016, and 30th September 2016.
  • ·Paul Jones (Section 151 Officer) will be writing to every parish and town council to update them

The S151 Officer has reissued the precept forms to the town councils and has already clarified the process for them. A number of parish councils have already returned their forms and it is not the intention, at this stage, for the DC to reissue them for parish councils for the new financial year. In future years, if the grant is still available, the revised precept form will be sent to all FOD parish and town councils.

Posted: Tue, 19 Jan 2016 14:46 by Alison Robinson

Tags: FOD, Forest of Dean, LCTS, Local Council Tax Support grant