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You are here: Home Page > Advice and Benefits > Council Tax > Your Council Tax 2015-16

Your Council Tax 2015-16

This page explains how your Council Tax is used to help provide Council services in 2015/2016 and it also explains how your Council Tax bill is calculated.

The Council Tax in Bedford Borough includes charges from;

  • Bedford Borough Council
  • Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner
  • Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority
  • The Parish Council (in areas where there is a parish council)

Each charge is shown separately on the Council Tax bill

 

Bedford Borough Council Charges

The Council set its Council Tax at a meeting of the full Council on 25 February 2015.  The Council Tax has been reduced by 0.25% so that the Borough’s average Council Tax will be £1,301.50. This will mean that Council Tax is now at a lower level than it was in 2010/2011 even when the effects of Special Area Expenses are included (see below).

The Council has continued to perform well in collecting Council Tax which has resulted in a surplus on the Tax Collection Fund together with a greater number of new properties being built over the year than anticipated. The Council share of the surplus has been used to reduce the Council Tax charged.  The amount of the reduction depends on the properties valuation band and is £45.19 for a Band D property.

The effect of freezing and reducing Council Tax in recent years is a saving of £225 per year since 2008/09 for the average Band D household compared to a Council Tax bill that had been increased in-line with inflation over the same period.

 

Bedford Borough Council Special Area Charges

Each household’s Council Tax Bill will vary based upon where you live in the borough.  Bedford Borough Council provides services in some parts of the Borough that are provided by Parish Councils in other areas.  These services include allotments, community centres, litter bins and parks.

An adjustment is made to the average amount of Council Tax for the different areas to ensure that the amount of Council Tax paid reflects these services.  The figures below shows the total adjustment for each part of the Borough for special area charges (please note the figures in the table are for Bedford Borough Council's part of the Council Tax only - see further details below about the full Council Tax charge) .

 

 

Bedford

Urban Area

      

Kempston

Urban Area

     

Brickhill

 Parish

     

Other

Parishes

 

£

 

£

 

£

 

£

Average Council Tax

1,301.50

 

1,301.50

 

1,301.50

 

1,301.50

Adjustment to Average

-21.72

 

-22.72

 

-22.72

 

-22.72

Special Area Charge

43.20

 

23.98

 

29.12

 

1.55

Band D Council Tax

1,322.98

 

1,302.76

 

1,307.90

 

1,280.33

 

Parish Council Costs

This Borough Council’s Council Tax also includes Parish Precepts, which is the amount requested by the Local Town or Parish Councils.  A list of Parishes, the total amount each has requested and the Council Tax are shown here.  On average the cost of the Parish Council adds £26.72 to a bill for a Band D property.  This is an increase of 45p on last year.

There will be a new parish of Wixams from 1 April 2015 and Bedford Borough Council has anticipated a precept of £37,100 being issued by the new parish council once it is formed.  This means residents of Wixams will pay the same amount in parish Council Tax charges as they paid last year.

 

Fire and Police Costs

The Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner and the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority are responsible for setting their own level of Council Tax. Their Council Tax figures are then included in the overall Council Tax shown on the bill.

The following figures show where the money comes from to pay for the Borough Council’s net revenue expenditure plus the Band D Council for the Police and Fire Authorities (the amounts shown for the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner are the amounts following the public referendum in which voters reject the proposed increase of 15.8%). 

The average Council Tax at Band D including the Police and Fire Authorities is £1,598.79 (£1,575.47 in 2014/2015).

 

2014/2015

 

2015/2016

Increase

 

  Council Tax

at Band D

 

 

Council Tax

at Band D

 

£m

£

 

£m

£

%

145.2

 

   Bedford Borough Net Budget

134.5

 

 

 

 

   Less:

 

 

 

-44.0

 

   Government Grants

-29.1

 

 

32.7

 

   Retained Business Rates

33.4

 

 

-0.9

 

   Council Tax Surplus

-2.4

 

 

67.6

1,304.84

   Bedford Borough Council Tax

69.6

1,301.50

-0.25

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.4

26.60

   Parish/Town Council

1.4

26.72

0.45

  69.0

1,331.44

   Council Tax including  Parish/ Town Councils     

  71.0

1,328.22

-0.24

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.1

156.55

   Bedfordshire Police & Crime Commissioner

8.5

159.67

1.99

4.5

87.48

   Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Authority

4.8

89.22

1.99

 

1,575.47

   Total Council Tax

 

1,577.11

0.10

 

Council Tax and spending plans for the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority

 

Council Tax Increase Referendum

The Police & Crime Commissioner originally set a precept for 2015/16 that resulted in a Council Tax rise of 15.84%, which was above the limit set by the Government of 2%.  Therefore, a referendum was held on 7 May 2015 in which Bedfordshire residents voted to reject the increase.  A lower increase of 1.99% was then applied and revised bills were issued in May 2015.  

 

Bedford Borough Council's Budget

The 2015/2016 budget has been set in the context of the continuing financial austerity arising from the Government’s Deficit Recovery Plan particularly the consequences of the Spending Review announced on 20 October 2010 (SR2010) and the detailed provisions of the Local Government Finance Settlement. This confirmed that local government faced a real-terms reduction in grants of 28% over the period 2011 to 2015 with substantial “front loading” of the reduction which specifically for Bedford resulted in a net cut of £7 million in central government funding for 2015/2016.  In setting its budget the Council also has to take into account unavoidable spending pressures such as those arising from increases in external costs or new statutory requirements.

The Council has had to make difficult decisions in order to set a balanced budget and keep Council Tax affordable whilst protecting front line services.  A total reduction of £9.1million through savings and efficiencies was included in the budget following consultation with local residents. 

In addition, the Council has been able to continue the key front line services that matter to residents, and make further investments in services in adult social care services, transport for older people, as well as continuing free car parking in the town centre.

 

How Council Tax is Spent on Local Services

Bedford Borough Council provides major services such as Education, Social Care, Highways, Waste Collection and Disposal, Housing Benefits and Economic Development.  Since April 2013 the Council is also responsible for Public Health, which was previously the responsibility of the NHS.

A summary of the revenue budget approved by Bedford Borough Council is shown below:

 

 

Gross

Budget

     £ million

Income

Budget

     £ million

Net

 Budget

     £ million

Children’s & Adults *

189.6

-112.5

77.1

Chief Executive

105.2

-87.8

17.4

Environment & Sustainable Communities

52.6

-24.1

28.5

Sub Total

347.4

-224.4

123.0

Corporate Budgets

23.0

-11.5

11.5

Total for 2015/2016

370.4

-235.9

134.5

 

 

 

 

Total for 2014/2015

360.6

-215.4

145.2

* Including the cost of schools and associated funding

 

How the Council’s Budget has changed

 

 

Net Budget

£ million

2014/2015 Base Budget (Adjusted)

138.2

Base Budget Adjustments

-2.6

Inflation

1.7

Investments in Services (on-going)

3.7

Investments in Services (one-off)

0.8

Modernisation Proposals

-7.3

2015/2016 Budget

134.5

 

Capital Spending

In addition to the revenue budget, the Council has agreed a Capital Programme of £45.8 million for 2015/2016 on new and existing schemes. A summary of capital expenditure is set out below:

 

 

2015/2016

  2016/2017

  2017/2018 

   Total  

 

£m

£m

£m

£m

Gross Directorate Budgets

 

 

 

 

Children's and Adults

12.9

9.7

6.9

43.8

Chief Executive

7.1

4.4

2.9

24.3

Environment & Sustainable Communities

25.8

13.4

8.4

71.6

Gross Total

45.8

27.5

18.2

139.7

 

 

 

 

 

Financed by

 

 

 

 

Grants & Contributions

26.5

11.1

9.2

75.0

Revenue

8.7

6.6

4.8

29.4

Capital Receipts

8.0

9.3

4.2

26.8

Borrowing

2.6

0.5

0

8.5

Total financing

45.8

27.5

18.2

139.7

 

Capital expenditure is financed from grants, contributions, capital receipts, revenue, or borrowing. All capital projects are evaluated to ensure that any resulting ongoing revenue costs are affordable within current Council funding.

 

Further Information

The detailed Revenue Budget and Capital Programme is included in the Council’s ‘Revenue Budget and Capital Programme’, which is published on our website http://www.bedford.gov.uk/

 

Corporate Plan

The Council must spend every pound as efficiently as possible. This may mean providing services in different ways and certainly means the Council must respond to service needs as quickly and effectively as possible.

Bedford Borough Council is working with other public service providers in the region to improve local quality of life and works with its partners, as part of the Strategic Partners Board (the local strategic partnership for Bedford).

The Corporate Plan 2012 – 2016 sets out the vision to make the Borough a better place to live, work and visit and identifies what needs to be done to tackle the pressing problems that have been identified.

To deliver this vision effectively the Council will focus on four distinct themes over the four years (2012-2016). These themes are the foundation of the Corporate Plan and are:

Providing a Healthy Future

Providing safe, sound, supportive, cost effective services which promote independence, health, well-being and choice.

Protecting and Preserving the Local Environment

Protecting and preserving the natural and built environment whilst enabling and supporting sustainable growth.

Brighter Futures for Children

Improving outcomes and life chances for all children, particularly vulnerable children through early intervention

Serving Residents Effectively

Providing residents with helpful, efficient and cost effective customer services that meet their needs.

 

 


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