13 2015 - WEALDEN PLANS COUNCIL TAX INCREASE
Wealden District Council is proposing to increase council tax by 1.9% in the year 2016/7.
This is the equivalent of seven pence a week more for residents living in the average Band D tax property, taking the average amount paid for Wealden services to £3.41 a week (£175.32 a year).
The final council tax figure for Wealden residents will also include precepts for services from Uckfield Town Council,
East Sussex County
Council, police and fire services.
Uckfield Town Council was previously considering a 15% increase in its share of
council tax but shaved £73,000 from its spending plans at a meeting last week.
The average paid by Uckfield residents for town council services is currently £146.66 a year.
A consultation on Wealden’s proposals for the district is under way and the results will be considered by its cabinet at a meeting on 27 January 2016. A budget recommendation is due to go to full council on February 24, 2016.
Wealden is still waiting to hear how much money it can expect from central government but is expecting a cut of 14%, to be followed by a larger cut in the following year.
Council leader Bob Standley said: “We have been able to freeze council tax for the past five years with the support from Government but we need to make an increase in council tax this year to maintain the high level of service to residents.
“Over the next three years, we will be looking for further savings or income generation of up to
million towards the annual cost of running the council.
“This will enable us to be self-sufficient using council tax and business rates to provide our wide range of services.”
Services provided by Wealden District Council include housing, refuse and recycling collection, planning control, environmental protection, housing and council tax benefits, licencing, public health, economic development and pollution control.
The consultation on budget proposals closes on January 24.
Cllr Standley said Wealden was making infrastructure improvements a priority with a £2 million underspend being transferred into the council’s new revolving infrastructure fund.
He said: “The amount of new housing outlined in the Local Plan, particularly in the south of Wealden, will need to be supported by better roads and transport connections as well as education, care and health facilities.
“Money we put in now will be replaced in the future by contributions from developers through the new Community Infrastructure Levy.
“I have spoken to many people during the current Local Plan consultation and they share our concerns about the importance of getting the right infrastructure in place.”
The council is expecting to spend £3 million on infrastructure in the current financial year including the provision of SANGS open space recreation areas to be created in the north of the district, which will allow development already planned to take place. Further contributions to the infrastructure fund will be made in later years.
most instances it is clear how a property should be banded. A typical
house or flat, for example, will be allocated a single council tax band.
But there are many instances where it is more difficult to establish the
number of council tax bands to be applied; this is particularly so when
there are a number of dwellings within one building or a number of
occupiers with different uses, such as charities.
Here we explain the
different circumstances where this can arise and the criteria the VOA use in deciding how many council tax bands should apply in each instance.
may note some discrepancy between planning and rating law, where on the
one hand the government want to squeeze you of every penny they can, while
the local authority do not want to admit to lawful development. As
far as we know, this has yet to be challenged in the County or High Court,
to clarify the legal position.
full definition of a dwelling is found in Section 3 of the Local
Government Finance Act 1992.
speaking, a dwelling is a separate unit of living accommodation, together
with any garden, yard, garage or other outbuildings, attached to it, all
occupied by the same person(s) and within the same area of land.
property can appear in the Council Tax Valuation List and a non-domestic
rating list if it is used for both domestic and business purposes.
a property contains more than one self-contained unit of accommodation, it
will be divided into as many dwellings as there are self contained units
for council tax purposes. We describe this process as 'disaggregation' and
each dwelling will have its own council tax band.
self contained unit means 'a building or part of a building which
has been constructed or adapted for use as separate living accommodation' .
living accommodation can mean both a unit of living accommodation which is
physically separated from other accommodation, and also living
accommodation which is annexed to and sharing an access with adjoining
accommodation. The fact that a unit shares common services and cannot be
sold on its own does not prevent it from being self contained. Equally,
the degree of communal living is not a relevant factor. The primary test
is whether a unit is constructed or adapted for use as separate living
accommodation, not what use is made of it.
considering whether any living accommodation is a self contained unit, we
must have regard to several key points. These are:
physical character and layout
self contained unit must be physically capable of use as separate
physical identity of the accommodation
self contained unit will normally not be spread over different parts
of a building. For example: accommodation consisting of a living room
and a kitchen with a bedroom and a bathroom situated across a common
hallway is a not a self contained unit.
provision of standard facilities
self contained unit must have areas capable of use for living, for
food preparation, for washing and a WC. Where a self-contained
unit has had fittings removed, which could easily be reinstated as a
matter of normal repair or renewal, then the unit will still be
regarded as capable of separate occupation. Similarly, the
actual use being made of the rooms in a self-contained unit will not
be a relevant consideration e.g. the fact that a former living room is
used as a bedroom, or a former kitchen is used as a utility room.
existing legislation, disaggregation only applies to a building or part of
a building. It therefore excludes caravans and boats.
we may decide to treat what would otherwise be separate dwellings as a
single dwelling. We describe this as 'aggregation'.
law allows us to aggregate dwellings when, for example, dealing with a
property which consists of a 'single self contained unit' and is occupied
by separate households. An example of this might be a large house which
has been converted to bedsit accommodation.
we are considering whether it is appropriate to treat separate occupations
as a single dwelling we must look at the extent, if any, to which the
property has been structurally altered.
values and bands
council tax band of a property is not related to its current market value.
This is because, by law, council tax valuations are based on the price a
property would have fetched if it had been sold on 1 April 1991. For Wales
the Valuation date is 1 April 2003. General price movements in the housing
market since that date are not, therefore, a reason for changing a council
tax banding. If you are thinking of appealing against a band, please read
I appeal?' pages for the circumstances that permit an appeal.
To make an appeal on line you need to find your property using the search
facility below and follow the 'make an appeal' links.
rates are paid by most occupiers of business property as a way of
contributing towards the cost of local services.
receive your rates bill from your local
authority each year, between February and April. It tells you the
amount you have to pay in the coming year and how the local authority has
worked out that amount. You will normally be asked to pay in a number
of instalments. The bill shows the amount of each instalment and the dates
on which you should pay.
your local authority issues the bill and collects your business rates, the
total amount collected across the country goes into a central rate pool
for England. This is managed by the ODPM,
which redistributes the funds to local authorities, and to other
bodies like police and fire authorities.
five years the rateable values of all 1.75 million business properties in
England and Wales are reassessed. The most recent revaluation came into
effect on 1 April 2005. Many ratepayers received details of their proposed
new rateable value in the form of a summary valuation.
and more people are working from home. If you’re one of them, you might
have to pay business rates on the part of the property you use for work.
You will continue to pay council tax as usual on the rest of your
property. However, the amount you pay on that part of the property may
number of factors will determine whether the space in your home used as an
‘office’ will be liable for business rates. These will include the
extent and frequency of the business use of the room (or rooms) and any
special modifications made to the property. Each case is considered
individually, usually through a visit from your local
Valuation Office – which you should contact for further details. If
your property needs to be assessed for business rates, your Valuation
Office will work out a rateable
value for the part used for non-domestic purposes.
summary valuation explains how the rateable
value of your business property has been calculated. The VOA sent
a paper copy to most ratepayers in October 2004. The VOA is
responsible for setting the rateable values of all 1.75 million business
properties in England and Wales.
future, where appropriate, all businesses will receive summary
valuations. Currently, they are available to most shops, offices and industrial
properties – approximately 1.3 million in total. If
those businesses that have received a summary valuation have their
rateable value re-assessed and changed by the VOA, they will be sent an
updated summary valuation that reflects any amendments.
summary valuation is new. In the past you were only informed of the
rateable value of your property. From now on you will get a full breakdown
of how that rateable value has been calculated based on the
characteristics of the property you occupy.
summary valuation is not a rates
bill. Your local authority calculates your rates bill by
multiplying the rateable value by a factor set by central government each
year called the multiplier,
or Uniform Business Rate (UBR). Your local authority then applies
any reliefs to which you might be entitled, to come up with a final figure
for your bill. You will receive your rates bill from your local authority
sometime between February and April each year.
are a number of rate relief's businesses can apply for in order to ease the
impact of their business rates bill. This section outlines the
criteria required to qualify for each type of rate relief and gives a
general indication of the effect this might have on your bill.
note you should contact your local
authority to apply for any type of relief and for further
information. The following types of
rate relief are available:
Small Business Rate Relief
This is a new relief that came into effect on 1 April 2005.
businesses with rateable values of below £5,000 will get 50% rate relief
on their liability. This relief will decrease on a sliding scale by
an estimated 1% for every £100 of rateable value over £5,000, up to
£10,000. Your local billing authority will calculate the exact decrease.
relief is available to ratepayers with either:
main property and other additional properties, providing the
additional properties do not have individual rateable values of more
than £2,200, and the combined rateable value of all the properties is
under £15,000 (or £21,500 in London). The threshold for the
combined rateable value is dependent on the location of the main
property. The main
property is the only one that will have the relief applied to it.
The additional properties will have their charges calculated
using the standard multiplier.
addition to this relief on liability, eligible businesses with rateable
values of between £10,000 and £14,999 (or between £10,000 and £21,499
in London) will have their liability calculated using the small business multiplier.
Small Business Rate Relief scheme is funded by a supplement on the
rate bill of those businesses not eligible for the relief. This
supplement is built into the standard multiplier.
ratepayers must apply for the relief each year, including those with
rateable values between £10,000 and £14,999 (or between £10,000 and £21,499
in London). If your business ceases to be eligible on a day during
the financial year, the relief will cease on that day. You must
submit your application for the relief to your local authority within six
months of the end of the financial year to which it relates - for the
2005/06 financial year, the last date for applications will be 30
a business meets the eligibility criteria, the relief can only be granted
if the property the business occupies is on the rating list from 1 April.
The date of occupation of the property is irrelevant, the key date is the
effective date given to the property in the rating list. If the
property has an effective date after 1 April, then the relief can only be
applied for from 1 April of the following year.
empty and unused
You pay no business rates for the first three months that the
property is empty and, after that, an empty property rate of 50% of the
normal bill. But on industrial buildings, listed buildings and small
properties with rateable values of less than £2,200, there are no rates
to pay even after the first three months. Empty property relief is
available to the owner - in this case the owner is the person entitled to
possession of the property in question even if that person or entity
cannot make a claim to register that property at the relevant point in
and charity shops
If the property is used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes, or the
institution or organisation occupying it is established for charitable
purposes only, or is occupied by people administering a trust established
for charitable purposes only, you are automaticlaly entitled to an
80% reduction on your bill. You need to apply to your local
authority, however, to make sure you receive it. In the case of
charity shops, the property must be wholly or mainly used for the sale of
goods donated to a charity and the proceeds of sale of the goods must
(after deduction of expenses) be applied for the purposes of a charity.
local authority may also decide to further reduce the amount you have to
pay – or even cancel the bill altogether. Decisions are made on a
a charity, but another type of non-profit-making organisation
Although you have no automatic entitlement, local authorities may
decide to give you relief or cancel your bill altogether. Your
organisation must be non-profit-making and the property it occupies must
be used for charitable, philanthropic or religious purposes or
concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine
arts. Or the property must be used by a non-profit-making organisation
wholly or mainly for the purpose of recreation.
ODPM issued detailed guidance to local authorities on 'Rate
reliefs for charities and other non-profit-making organisations' in
village of population under 3000
You are entitled to a 50% reduction in the rates bill – or more
if your local authority feels you need it – if you are:
– the only village general store or post office, as long as it has a
rateable value of less than £7,000
– a food shop with a rateable value of less than £7,000
– the only village pub or the only petrol station (rateable value of
less than £10,500).
If you are a business in a qualifying rural village with a rateable value
of less than £14,000 your local authority may decide to give you 100%
relief if your business is of benefit to the local community. The
decision rests with the local authority.
business on agricultural land or former agricultural buildings
This applies to business premises with rateable values of less
than £7,000, whether they are run by the farmer or not. The
land or buildings in which the business is located must have been in
agricultural use for at least 183 days during the year ending 14 August
2001, and the property must have been included in the rating list before 1
April 2005. This relief offers a possible 50% reduction
which can be increased to up to 100% by the local authority if they think
you need it and the business is of benefit to the local community.
This particular scheme was intended to run for a five year period and is
due to end on 14 August 2006.
of your property is not being used and is completely unoccupied for a
Your local authority may consider giving you relief, if they
decide you are entitled to it, and reduce your payment on the part
of your property that is clearly unoccupied and beyond use for a short
period of time. Your local authority can choose to ask the VOA
to divide the current rateable value between the parts of the
property that are occupied and those which are not occupied. If your
application for this rate relief is succesful, you will pay full rates on
the occupied part of the property and 50% in respect of the
are suffering severe hardship and cannot pay your bill
Your local authority may give you up to 100% relief – the
decision is up to them. It would normally only do this in extreme
cases of hardship and for businesses that are particularly important to
the local community. It would need to be satisfied that you would suffer
hardship if the relief was not granted and takes account of the fact that
local council tax payers will be paying part of the cost of the relief.
res judicata — A rule of civil law that once a matter has been litigated
and final judgment has been rendered by the trial court, the matter cannot
be relitigated by the parties in the same court, or any other trial court.
A court will use res judicata to deny reconsideration of a matter. Cf. res
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