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Council Tax Referendum

Your Council Tax bill, which is sent to you by Bedford Borough Council, is made up of charges from three organisations:

• Bedford Borough Council

• Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner

• Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority

If you live in an area with a parish council the Council Tax charged by the parish council is also included in your bill. Your bill shows how much you pay to each organisation and how much each charge has increased compared to last year’s bill. The part of your Council Tax charged by Bedford Borough Council has not increased.

 

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire increased the amount of the Council Tax for Bedfordshire Police by 15.84% compared to last year. By law this meant there must be a local referendum to decide whether any increase of more than 1.99% should stay or whether there should be a lower Council Tax increase for Bedfordshire Police.

 

Referendum Result

The referendum was held on 7 May 2015 and the majority of those voting were against the increase of 15.84%. 

The Council will be issuing new 'substitute' Council Tax bills based on the lower increase of 1.99% (by law this will be shown as 2% on the Council Tax bills) during the week commencing 18 May 2015.

Please note that refunds will only be issued where more than the whole amount due for 2015/16 has been paid.  Where there is still an outstanding amount to pay for 2015/16 the remaining payment instalments will be reduced so that overall the lower amount of the new bill is paid over the course of the year.

 

Further Information about the Referendum

What is a referendum?

A referendum is a vote like an election but where you vote in favour of or against something.

 

Why did there need to be a Council Tax referendum?

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire increased the amount of Council Tax that you pay for the cost of policing in Bedfordshire by 15.84% compared to last year. The law says that if the increase is more than 1.99% there must be a public referendum to see if you agree with the increase.

 

When was the referendum?

The referendum was held on 7 May 2015 the same day as the general, local and Mayoral elections.

 

When was the result announced?

The result was announced on Monday 11 May 2015.

 

What did the referendum ask?

The referendum asked you if you wanted the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner to increase Council Tax by 15.8%. You were able to vote yes or no.

 

Who could vote? Was it only the person who pays the Council Tax?

Anyone who was registered to vote in local government elections in Bedfordshire could vote in the referendum.

 

How was the result of the referendum decided?

The result was decided by the majority of the votes. If more people voted to accept the increase your Council Tax bill would not have change. Because more people voted against the increase a lower increase of 1.99% will be made and you will receive a new bill for a lower amount. The votes from Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Luton were added together to give one overall result.

 

Why didn't you wait until after the referendum before you increased the bill?

The law says that Bedford Borough Council had to send bills based on the increase the Police and Crime Commissioner has asked for.

 

About your Council Tax

Has Bedford Borough Council increased my Council Tax?

No. Bedford Borough Council’s share of your Council Tax has not gone up for 2015/16.

 

Why has my bill gone up?

Your bill includes charges made by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire, the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority and, in some areas, a parish council. Increases made by these organisations affect your bill. Your bill shows you how much you pay to each organisation and how much each has gone up.

 

Will I get a refund now the increase has been rejected?

To save money the Council will send new bills with lower instalments for the rest of the year. However, you will have the right to contact the Council and ask for a refund. If you have paid your bill in full you will receive a refund automatically.

 

If I get Council Tax Support will I pay less because of the lower increase?

Not necessarily. If you get Council Tax Support but still have some Council Tax to pay, the amount you pay is based on your income. Even though the overall Council Tax bill has gone down you will still have to pay the same amount based on your income.

 

Who pays for the cost of the referendum and for sending out new Council Tax bills?

The cost of holding the referendum and sending out new Council Tax bills has to be paid for by Bedfordshire Police.

Where can I find out more about the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner?

The Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner website at www.bedfordshire.pcc.police.uk

 

 

 


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