By Chris Vince
As a former maths teacher, I thought it might be helpful if I provided some simple information for your readers to put into context the 10p per week increase* to Council Tax that we agreed at last Thursday’s Council meeting.
Firstly, it’s worth reminding people that Harlow Council retains just 15% of the Council Tax collected each month. This means that on a Band C property, which in 2020-21 pays £166.84, Harlow Council retains £25.03. The remaining £141.81 goes to Conservative Essex County Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner.
The total annual amount that Harlow Council receives from a Band C property is £250.30 (Council Tax only being collected 10 months of the year). In return for this, the Council is responsible for various services such as maintenance of green spaces, planning and building control, council housing, housing benefits, licensing of businesses and food hygiene inspections and a host of valued discretionary services including The Playhouse, Pets’ Corner, Sam’s Place, Harlow Museum and the Leah Manning Centre.
"The increase of 10p a week ensures we can continue to deliver all of these services and protect jobs at a time when unemployment figures are on the rise." Councillor Chris Vince
The increase of 10p a week ensures we can continue to deliver all of these services and protect jobs at a time when unemployment figures are on the rise. We can also set up a hardship fund to support any resident who is struggling to pay their Council Tax (and not just Harlow Council’s portion).
In the face of this, it was – to put it mildly – exasperating that Conservative councillors who sit on both Harlow District and Essex County Councils, rejected a less than inflation increase on Harlow’s Council tax while having previously voted in favour of a rise at County Hall.
For a Band C property, the Conservative’s at Essex County Council have put your Council Tax up by £225.96 over the last 5 years opposed to Labour administration of Harlow District Council who has raised it by only £23 in the same period. Harlow Council’s proportion represents just 9% of the total increase.
I hope this has been helpful to your readers.
Cllr Chris Vince
Former maths teacher and representing Little Parndon and Hare Street
*The cost to a Band C home