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Council sets budget for essential services

Published on 23 February 2024

High Peak Borough Council has set its budget for providing essential services at £13.9m for the coming year - and agreed to continue support with council tax for households on the lowest incomes.

A council tax increase of £6.32 (2.99%) has been agreed - setting Band D payments at £217.68 for 2024/25. As more than 70% of High Peak residents live in properties in Bands A, B or C, the average increase will be less than £6.32.

The Council has also agreed to continue the successful changes made to its council tax reduction scheme which:

·       make it easier for working age applicants to apply

·       maintains current levels of support for other households

Pension age applicants are not affected by these changes as the support they receive is prescribed by the Government.

Rents for the Council's housing tenants will increase by 7.7% - a rise in average rents from £77.78 to £84.09 per week in line with Government limits.

Executive Councillor for Corporate Services and Finance, Alan Barrow, said: "The Council budget funds the essential everyday services residents, businesses and visitors rely on including waste collections, housing, investing in leisure and wellbeing facilities, tackling climate change - and all the other priorities we've set out in our Borough Plan.

"We know that people continue to face challenges with their own household finances  and the increases in food, fuel and other daily costs. With that in mind, we have given careful consideration to the level at which council tax, and rent for Council tenants, has been set for the coming year.

"I'd also like to reassure people on the lowest incomes that the support scheme to help with council tax remains in place so please ensure that, if this applies to you, you are receiving the help available.

"As ever, we will continue to focus on delivering the value for money, high quality services the High Peak deserves and to actively seek out opportunities to improve efficiency."

To help with the challenges caused by empty properties, from 1 April, 100% council tax will be charged for properties that have been empty for over 12 months. This applies to 365 properties in the High Peak. The current scheme applies to properties empty for two years.

And, from 1 April 2025, second home owners will also have to pay 100% council tax on their properties pending any exceptions agreed following the current Government consultation. This would apply to 329 properties in the Borough.

Councillor Barrow added: "Demand for housing remains high and empty properties are a wasted resource. We hope that paying 100% council tax for empty properties will encourage property owners to bring their properties back into use to help address our housing needs.

"Similarly, charging the full amount for second homes can encourage their use as main homes for local people rather than second homes. In line with legislation, we're giving the owners of second homes 12 months notice of our intention to charge a premium on such properties to give them time to act if they choose to do so."

The Borough Council collects Council Tax on behalf of the County Council, Police and Fire Authorities and town and parish councils but only retains approximately 10% of the total.

There's more information about council tax on our website where residents can also sign up for a 'My Council Tax' account online enabling them to:

·       View information at any time

·       change their method of payment

·       report a change of address or ownership

·       apply for single person discount

·       help save paper and reduce costs by signing up for electronic bills and notification