Questions about town and parish councils
Follow Councillor Q&A on X/Twitter

Follow us on X/Twitter

0 votes
Who’s got the highest and lowest precept percentage change for 23/24?

Not the pounds, shillings and pence figures because we are all different but I’m interested to hear what increase / decrease percentages are nationwide.
We’ll have county figures when the LA issues CT summary soon, interested to see what the averages are throughout the land.
Biggest town or parish precept DECREASE wins a bottle of bubbles (I recon I’ve already got it in the bag - and there’s a cracking tale to tell about how it was possible to decrease precept but not delete any output!)
by (21.3k points)

6 Answers

0 votes
More than 300% Proposed !
by (500 points)
edited by
300% increase????

OMG!

What’s the back story?  There must be one!
0 votes
5% for no reason as the General Reserve is already far higher than the agreed policy amount
From recollection a few years ago one nearby Council did a 189% rise and it’s remained at that level

Really what counts is Value for Money
by (11.6k points)
0 votes
28% decrease! Anyone beat that??
by (21.3k points)
Our PC is the same every year i.e. its announces a small increase and quantifies it by saying its only a pound a week . Meanwhile every year the Earmarked Reserves go up through concocted projects and has risen from £60K to £300k in last 10 years.  Still RFO is due to announce reserves policy at next meeting (but after the budget has been set).
That is fiscally illiterate!

Why isn’t the IA / EA pulling it?

Why aren’t electorate objecting to EA?

Why are Cllrs allowing it?

My PC has been fiscally illiterate for years, probably decades.
I joined PC in Jan 22 and assumed chair in Jun 22.
Proposed budget was presented by RFO in Nov 22, after picking the assumptions apart and reconstructing them with some tangible logic it was apparent that the estimated precept requirement was vastly over inflated.
But that wasn’t the best part, the assumption had, for as long as memories allowed, been that the opening balance at start of new FY was always £zero and that had been the case for as long as could be remembered.
At the end Nov there was ivo £60k revenue balance at bank and the very real prospect of there being £40-50k at end FY.
The entire precept / budget calc FAILED to take account of carry forward balance at end of the previous FY which will be somewhere between £40-50k!

Consequently, year on year, the overall bank balance was growing and providing ample ££s so that there was no requirement for any budget / project planning since there was always plenty of money for any cock-eyed, ½ witted scheme without any need for forward planning.
The cash revenue bank balance at close of this FY is likely to exceed the level of precept required for 23/24FY which “could” have resulted in a 100% reduction / rebate, but I took the view that a more gradual, staged reduction over 1-3 years would be a reasonable approach to regain a sense of equilibrium.
30% reduction 23/24, 20% reduction 24/25, 10% reduction 25/26 - well that’s the plan at least, subject to approval by what ever passes for a PC as those years roll out.
Round again    Re the failure to take into account the carry forwards, the public can drop a note to the internal auditor about it, and if the AGAR return says everything is fine, then a complaint to the external auditor.  Then pop it all on FB.
0 votes
Think I can beat the 28%.  Initially 5% but following an emergency meeting to help fight a planning appeal it was agreed to increase it by 60% to help pay for some of the costs.
by (3.8k points)
It’s a 28% DECREASE!!!

But I am interested to hear about a PC putting money towards a planning appeal process.
0 votes
I oversaw an 1100% increase for 2021/22. Not a lot in money terms, but they do insist on using percentages.
by (53.3k points)
I’ve heard the “not a lot in money terms” rationale used frequently before and for considerably smaller %s than that.
I refuse to accept the “not a lot” justification in any way, shape, form or scale when it is applied in anything other than by me about my money…
0 votes
Pah! I'm out. We had a 100% increase a couple of years back to pay for 50 year loan for a land purchase. However, "the operating budget" part of our precept in terms of a figure in pounds has remained the same for about 8 years. When those on the finance committee worked out the budget for the coming year, it was presented at council as a 15% increase, which obviously drew murmurs of discontent from the crowd. However, when I looked at the figures after the event, I managed to reduce the 15% figure down to 7.5% very easily by pointing out they'd worked out the percentage increase based on the operating budget rather than on the total precept figure...
by (990 points)
These are such basic errors as to be laughable.

The PC in my example had never included in the next FY calculations the closing balance at bank at end of the current FY...

You might expect that it shouldn't be much as a general rule and therefore wouldn't make a great deal of difference - if the current years budget was credible, through year monitoring should allow for a near zero balance by end Q4.  In theory!

But when closing balance at end Q4 is likely to be the same size as the entire precept demand for the following FY it becomes an issue which exposes financial incompetence either at the previous year budget calculations, or failure to properly review in year, or both.
Unbelievable ineptitude!
Our Clerk used the previous years closing balance so for example the closing bank balance for 31/3/2021 would be used as the opening balance at 1/4/2022 and when I pointed out she circulated an email to all Councillors saying I was trying to get her to use a guesstimate
A couple of years ago she added income to the opening balance and proposed  to spend the lot  I was the only Councillor to notice and the Chair couldn’t understand what the problem was !

Welcome to Town & Parish Councillor Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers from other members of the community. All genuine questions and answers are welcome. Follow us on Twitter to see the latest questions as they are asked - click on the image button above or follow @TownCouncilQA. Posts from new members may be delayed as we are unfortunately obliged to check each one for spam. Spammers will be blacklisted.

You may find the following links useful:

We have a privacy policy and a cookie policy.

Clares Cushions logo Peacock cushion

Clare's Cushions creates beautiful hand made cushions and home accessories from gorgeous comtemporary fabrics. We have a fantastic selection of prints including Sophie Allport and Orla Kiely designs and most covers can be ordered either alone or with a cushion inner. Buying new cushions is an affordable and effective way to update your home interior, they're also a great gift idea. Visit our site now

2,964 questions
5,785 answers
8,127 comments
10,081 users
Google Analytics Alternative