We want to explain why council tax is set to increase in Peterborough by 2.99% from April.
That's less than 75p a week for most people, roughly the cost of two pints of milk. This increase will help to fund the vital services we all use and love.
So why do we need to raise extra money? Since 2013/14 our government funding has been cut by over 80%, from £55m to just £10m in 2019/20. That’s a cut of £229 per person. In the meantime, demand for our services is increasing.
The increase in council tax will raise an extra £2.2million, about 9.2% of what we need to save. This is vital money that will help us face this challenge and keep investing in our communities.
House prices in Peterborough have risen in recent times, so you might think we have more homes on higher bands. That’s not the case.
Council tax is based on 1991 property values which means that over 81% of homes are in the lowest three valuation bands. Just 70 homes fall in the highest band. We also help over 13,000 households on low incomes to pay their council tax through our council tax support scheme - this costs about £9million a year.
Did you know Peterborough has the 8th lowest council tax of the 56 unitary authorities? Our council tax bill is £383 lower than the highest unitary authority bill in England.
Some people have asked why we don't increase it by more, but with the cost of living continuing to rise we want to reach a balance between keeping bills as low as possible and funding the services we all use. To raise it by more we'd have to hold an expensive referendum.
Council tax makes up just 17.49% of our overall funding. Our other money comes from grants for specific services like education and housing benefits as well as rents fees and charges. These are all under pressure too, so even if we increase council tax by more we would still need to make significant savings elsewhere.
You'll be able to find out more about your council tax when you receive your bill. You'll also receive a booklet explaining how we spend your money, our priorities for the year ahead and how we are investing in Peterborough.