Villages set for rise in council tax

PUBLISHED: 11:27 19 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:27 06 May 2010

IT COULD be good news for townies but bad news for villagers if changes to council tax are approved this week. Residents of Hitchin, Letchworth GC and Baldock could end up paying over £10 less a year than their village neighbours as part of a review of a

IT COULD be good news for townies but bad news for villagers if changes to council tax are approved this week.

Residents of Hitchin, Letchworth GC and Baldock could end up paying over £10 less a year than their village neighbours as part of a review of a system known as 'special expenses'.

North Herts District Council will decide tonight (Thursday) whether or not to change the system, which sees tax payers in the three towns paying £10.99 a year to cover things like public halls, playschemes and community centres.

If the system is changed, the amount currently brought in by special expenses would instead be divided across the whole district.

Based on this year's figure for a band D property, this could see a £5.61 increase for villagers, not including the annual increase in council tax due to be fixed in about a month.

Residents in Hitchin, Baldock and Letchworth GC would see a decrease of £5.38 before the annual council tax adjustments.

The council is proposing the change as it believes the facilities special expenses fund are not limited to the more urban areas.

A spokesman for NHDC said: "Special expenses were introduced 10 years ago to pay for community halls and children's playschemes that were provided in the towns but not in the rural parishes.

"Over time, the council's activities have expanded and it now supports community centres elsewhere, such as Great Ashby, it provides playschemes in rural areas, and also supports parish facilities by means of its parish challenge fund and its recently introduced Parish Amenity Capital Investment Fund (PACIF).

"Therefore it is no longer possible to justify raising special expenses."

The final decision will be made at a meeting of the full council.

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