Loophole in council tax system must be plugged

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IN REPLY to Mr Hague’s letter about the 111.2 per cent rise in the parish precept tax for the years 2012/13. I was shocked.

For the years 2010/11 Eastfield’s precept collected in from the Parish was £32,000, and this year for 2012/13 it has more than doubled to over £68,000. Our elected councillors should be looking after the people it represents and in today’s current economic climate to raise the precept to over twice the rate is wrong. Other parish councils around the area are being careful, and yet our parish councillors are being carefree.

I looked at the figures for some of our neighbours and their parish precepts and found: Ayton East £13,500, Ayton West £9,000, Cayton £26,413, Osgodby £5,970, Seamer £13,000, and Eastfield a massive £68,168.

Can the local parish council do this? I am afraid to say yes they can, because of a loophole in the law. Currently there is a two-tier system in which County and District Councils precept tax is set by Government. This is known as a cap, this applies to the precept demanded by each body with the exception of a town and its parish councils. Because of this loophole the precept tax can be raised to whatever they like. This is known as off-loading by County and District Councils giving non statutory duties to towns and its parishes and means the bodies of the (County and District) keep monies they would have had to spend on these duties. The taxpayers in effect are paying twice ... very clever but not for us the taxpayers?

This loophole must be plugged, why? Because it’s a licence to print money by the Town and Parish Councils, and the council tax has rocketed over many years.

Finally, the Government’s reply say it’s illogical that Town and Parish Councils should have protection via the Government’s reserve on capping, in my view this open way of collecting tax is wrong and the loophole plugged, that said our Eastfield Parish Councillors should be fair when raising it’s precept each year.

I believe some of the spending on projects for the community is far to high, one of which is spending £15,000 on the Dell project for Dell Rangers, come on parish councillors, get real, where has the £177,000 gone, which was a grant for the Dell?

I have lived on the estate for 55 years, and have never heard the like. I wonder if the local garden centres have any money trees?

J Large

Shire Croft