Oadby & Wigston Council Tax will be going up by a total of £7.61 per year, an increase of 2.99% for a Band D property. LFRS will be raising their Council Tax precept by £5 per year, and the Police by £15 per year. Leicestershire County Council will be raising their precept by 4.99%, an increase of £72.50 for Band D property per year, with a meeting to be held to set this next Wednesday (22 Feb). LCC’s increases incorporate social services.
If the County Council does not increase its precept by the maximum amount allowed by Central Government they are left unable to apply for additional funding from Central Government.
Oadby & Wigston received a lump sum of funding that has been ringfenced for improving the public realm and shopping centres in the Borough, and this funding cannot be used for other purposes.
The Police’s precept is noted to be higher due to cuts to the Police’s funding from Central Government pushing the shortfall on to the taxpayer. For Leicestershire 100 police officers have been cut, and police staff will need to reduce by 8%, due to the reduction in funding from Central Government. The Police and Crime Commissioner’s budget is the only budget to have seen an increase, at £46,000 per year, and has also employed a Deputy PCC at £58,000 plus on costs per year. £57,000 in compensation was also paid in total to 6 panel members who left various panels set up by the PCC this financial year. Since 2011 the Leicestershire Police have seen a reduction of £38million in their budgets.
Previously Central Government provided 30% toward the costs of service provision for local government, but this no longer exists with Council’s required to foot 100% of the costs. For Oadby & Wigston this was a reduction of £2million.
A query was raised as to the purpose of the Police and Crime Commissioner. A description of the role, including its responsibility to hold the Police’s Chief Constable to account, was provided to those present. An explanation was also given as to how the PCC provides funding to Community Safety Partnerships and other local organisations, as well as setting crime and disorder priorities. There is a panel of Councillors across Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland that also hold the Police and Crime Commissioner to account. The PCC’s Office also does a significant amount of statistical analysis on behalf of the Community Safety Partnerships across LLR.
The grants offered by the PCC were queried in regards to where the funding is raised from. It was confirmed that the PCC has a commissioning budget of around £1.4million; 56% of this is from Central Government, and 44% is sourced via Council Tax.
Even with all of the noted increases, Oadby & Wigston’s Council Tax rate is still the lowest in the County. This is due to the Borough not having Parish Councils within its boundary. Properties on opposite sides of the South Wigston / Glen Parva boundary have a difference in Council Tax of around £60 per year more for Blaby properties due to this.
There Borough’s size is seen by residents present as a boon to the Council, despite the low Council Tax rate, as it allows for services to continue to be managed effectively. Car Park charges assist with this, and there are no plans to change bin collections to anything other than weekly collections. Statistics are due to be published in the near future around the use of car parks in the Borough follwing the implementation of the car parking charge.
Monitoring for footfall around the town centres is in progress in order to accurately present the data around car park use etc.