Chiefs hit back in council tax row

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council Offices in North Quay, Weymouth

Cllr Colin Huckle

First published in News by

COUNCIL chiefs have hit back at figures which suggest that Weymouth and Portland has the highest council tax in the country.

Information from the Department for Communities and Local Government comparing the average for a Band D mid range property by local authority area puts Weymouth and Portland at the top of the list with a bill of £1,726.04.

The figure includes Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s share plus precepts from other authorities including Dorset County Council, Dorset Police, and Dorset Fire and Rescue Service.

But as the figures are an average by local authority area, they do not indicate the Band D pricing for individual towns.

For example, while the average Band D bill for neighbouring West Dorset is £1,650, a breakdown of towns reveal people in Dorchester and Blandford are paying more than Weymouth and Portland residents as they also have a town council precept to pay.

Weymouth and Portland finance spokesman Colin Huckle challenged the way the government figures were presented, stating the borough’s council tax was not even the highest in Dorset.

He was also keen to point out that the borough council’s portion of the council tax was only a small part of the total bill, with the county council accounting for the majority of the bill and precepts from the police and fire services also included.

Cllr Huckle said: “The borough council keeps just 16 per cent of the council tax bill.

“The rest is made up of charges from Dorset County Council, Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, Dorset Police and for Portland residents, Portland Town Council.

“These authorities set their own charges so the borough council has no control over most of the bill.

“The other point I would make is that more than half of properties in Weymouth and Portland (54 per cent) are in band A or B, so most residents pay substantially less than the higher band D charge.

“Interestingly, as there is no town council in Weymouth – and therefore no town council charge – it actually has one of the lowest band D council tax charges for a Dorset town compared to £1,753.02 in Swanage, £1,752.10 in Wimborne, £1,745.62 in Dorchester and £1,737.20 in Blandford Forum.”

Comments (15)

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6:54am Tue 5 Aug 14

cosmick says...

Paying about £1700 a year is to much, i know we need the services but there must be a way of getting this down. Any ideas?
Paying about £1700 a year is to much, i know we need the services but there must be a way of getting this down. Any ideas? cosmick
  • Score: 12

8:22am Tue 5 Aug 14

Preston North End says...

"It's not fair," whined Councillor Huckle. But all the town's folk just looked at him.
"It's not fair," whined Councillor Huckle. But all the town's folk just looked at him. Preston North End
  • Score: 3

8:58am Tue 5 Aug 14

PHonnor says...

16% is disgusting figure, is it not worth challenging DCC to try and keep more of the money generated in W&P? Being the largest town in the county it feels like its subsidising the rest of it.
16% is disgusting figure, is it not worth challenging DCC to try and keep more of the money generated in W&P? Being the largest town in the county it feels like its subsidising the rest of it. PHonnor
  • Score: 4

10:13am Tue 5 Aug 14

Dkny1982 says...

At least if we are going to be charged through the nose give us some idea of what you are doing with our money. This town has just about lost all of its appeal due to our useless council we need fresh blood looking after this town! People who have a bit of passion and an interest in keeping our beautifal town alive.
At least if we are going to be charged through the nose give us some idea of what you are doing with our money. This town has just about lost all of its appeal due to our useless council we need fresh blood looking after this town! People who have a bit of passion and an interest in keeping our beautifal town alive. Dkny1982
  • Score: 4

12:46pm Tue 5 Aug 14

cj07589 says...

Well the thieving LA's need to fund their over remunerated underworked Execs somehow. Just to think that once upon a time serving the public used to be a honour and was often done for little or no money but for the love of serving the community, sadly these days it's less about service to the public and more about sorting themselves out.
Well the thieving LA's need to fund their over remunerated underworked Execs somehow. Just to think that once upon a time serving the public used to be a honour and was often done for little or no money but for the love of serving the community, sadly these days it's less about service to the public and more about sorting themselves out. cj07589
  • Score: 5

12:48pm Tue 5 Aug 14

cj07589 says...

cosmick wrote:
Paying about £1700 a year is to much, i know we need the services but there must be a way of getting this down. Any ideas?
Merge the councils, centralisation with less bureaucracy quicker decisions and cost savings. Too much commonsense for this lot, after turkey's don't vote for Christmas do they?
[quote][p][bold]cosmick[/bold] wrote: Paying about £1700 a year is to much, i know we need the services but there must be a way of getting this down. Any ideas?[/p][/quote]Merge the councils, centralisation with less bureaucracy quicker decisions and cost savings. Too much commonsense for this lot, after turkey's don't vote for Christmas do they? cj07589
  • Score: 8

2:26pm Tue 5 Aug 14

MrTomSmith says...

Yeah thanks Mr Huckle who needs friends eh. Tea and Sympathy you certainly won't get. We are supposed to grateful, but we are not stupid you can throw a blanket over those different payment totals, I think the point that obviously went missing here is that that they are ALL far too high.
Yeah thanks Mr Huckle who needs friends eh. Tea and Sympathy you certainly won't get. We are supposed to grateful, but we are not stupid you can throw a blanket over those different payment totals, I think the point that obviously went missing here is that that they are ALL far too high. MrTomSmith
  • Score: 3

4:36pm Tue 5 Aug 14

MadeMeChuckle says...

Another Clown in charge of the family silver
Another Clown in charge of the family silver MadeMeChuckle
  • Score: 1

4:48pm Tue 5 Aug 14

CaughtJester says...

MrTomSmith wrote:
Yeah thanks Mr Huckle who needs friends eh. Tea and Sympathy you certainly won't get. We are supposed to grateful, but we are not stupid you can throw a blanket over those different payment totals, I think the point that obviously went missing here is that that they are ALL far too high.
Be that as it may, it's a lot more complex than WPBC demanding an extortionate amount simply because it wants to.

Local Government receives funds from a variety of places but its two primary sources are the Settlement Grant (issued by Westminster) and Council Tax.

Dorset has been chronically underfunded by Central Government for several years and, as a consequence, Councils have had to find the necessary funds to meet demand on local services via other means, principally through Council Tax. Hence the high rates.

By comparison, other counties (and their constituent Authorities) may be better funded by Central Government, they may have a higher proportion of upper-band properties from which to levy funds, or they may have less demand on particular services.

It's not simply a case of "Stand and Deliver."
[quote][p][bold]MrTomSmith[/bold] wrote: Yeah thanks Mr Huckle who needs friends eh. Tea and Sympathy you certainly won't get. We are supposed to grateful, but we are not stupid you can throw a blanket over those different payment totals, I think the point that obviously went missing here is that that they are ALL far too high.[/p][/quote]Be that as it may, it's a lot more complex than WPBC demanding an extortionate amount simply because it wants to. Local Government receives funds from a variety of places but its two primary sources are the Settlement Grant (issued by Westminster) and Council Tax. Dorset has been chronically underfunded by Central Government for several years and, as a consequence, Councils have had to find the necessary funds to meet demand on local services via other means, principally through Council Tax. Hence the high rates. By comparison, other counties (and their constituent Authorities) may be better funded by Central Government, they may have a higher proportion of upper-band properties from which to levy funds, or they may have less demand on particular services. It's not simply a case of "Stand and Deliver." CaughtJester
  • Score: 6

4:58pm Tue 5 Aug 14

MrTomSmith says...

CaughtJester wrote:
MrTomSmith wrote:
Yeah thanks Mr Huckle who needs friends eh. Tea and Sympathy you certainly won't get. We are supposed to grateful, but we are not stupid you can throw a blanket over those different payment totals, I think the point that obviously went missing here is that that they are ALL far too high.
Be that as it may, it's a lot more complex than WPBC demanding an extortionate amount simply because it wants to.

Local Government receives funds from a variety of places but its two primary sources are the Settlement Grant (issued by Westminster) and Council Tax.

Dorset has been chronically underfunded by Central Government for several years and, as a consequence, Councils have had to find the necessary funds to meet demand on local services via other means, principally through Council Tax. Hence the high rates.

By comparison, other counties (and their constituent Authorities) may be better funded by Central Government, they may have a higher proportion of upper-band properties from which to levy funds, or they may have less demand on particular services.

It's not simply a case of "Stand and Deliver."
Or they could be better run. You missed that possibility out.
[quote][p][bold]CaughtJester[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]MrTomSmith[/bold] wrote: Yeah thanks Mr Huckle who needs friends eh. Tea and Sympathy you certainly won't get. We are supposed to grateful, but we are not stupid you can throw a blanket over those different payment totals, I think the point that obviously went missing here is that that they are ALL far too high.[/p][/quote]Be that as it may, it's a lot more complex than WPBC demanding an extortionate amount simply because it wants to. Local Government receives funds from a variety of places but its two primary sources are the Settlement Grant (issued by Westminster) and Council Tax. Dorset has been chronically underfunded by Central Government for several years and, as a consequence, Councils have had to find the necessary funds to meet demand on local services via other means, principally through Council Tax. Hence the high rates. By comparison, other counties (and their constituent Authorities) may be better funded by Central Government, they may have a higher proportion of upper-band properties from which to levy funds, or they may have less demand on particular services. It's not simply a case of "Stand and Deliver."[/p][/quote]Or they could be better run. You missed that possibility out. MrTomSmith
  • Score: 4

8:25pm Tue 5 Aug 14

Caption Sensible says...

cj07589 wrote:
cosmick wrote:
Paying about £1700 a year is to much, i know we need the services but there must be a way of getting this down. Any ideas?
Merge the councils, centralisation with less bureaucracy quicker decisions and cost savings. Too much commonsense for this lot, after turkey's don't vote for Christmas do they?
The old Statist argument...

Centralisation has never worked and has only ever produced an even more bureaucratic, inefficient and costly form of governance.

Honestly, we just keep going round in circles...

A form of collaborative governance based upon individual responsibility, personal sovereignty and open source, transparent decision-making (making good use of technology) is surely the better way ahead?

It is time for people to reclaim their power and kick these parasites into touch. If you are waiting for someone else to come to the rescue with all the answers you will be waiting a very long time I'm afraid...

The power is within you to make changes, use it!
[quote][p][bold]cj07589[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]cosmick[/bold] wrote: Paying about £1700 a year is to much, i know we need the services but there must be a way of getting this down. Any ideas?[/p][/quote]Merge the councils, centralisation with less bureaucracy quicker decisions and cost savings. Too much commonsense for this lot, after turkey's don't vote for Christmas do they?[/p][/quote]The old Statist argument... Centralisation has never worked and has only ever produced an even more bureaucratic, inefficient and costly form of governance. Honestly, we just keep going round in circles... A form of collaborative governance based upon individual responsibility, personal sovereignty and open source, transparent decision-making (making good use of technology) is surely the better way ahead? It is time for people to reclaim their power and kick these parasites into touch. If you are waiting for someone else to come to the rescue with all the answers you will be waiting a very long time I'm afraid... The power is within you to make changes, use it! Caption Sensible
  • Score: 2

11:38pm Tue 5 Aug 14

MrTomSmith says...

Caption Sensible wrote:
cj07589 wrote:
cosmick wrote:
Paying about £1700 a year is to much, i know we need the services but there must be a way of getting this down. Any ideas?
Merge the councils, centralisation with less bureaucracy quicker decisions and cost savings. Too much commonsense for this lot, after turkey's don't vote for Christmas do they?
The old Statist argument...

Centralisation has never worked and has only ever produced an even more bureaucratic, inefficient and costly form of governance.

Honestly, we just keep going round in circles...

A form of collaborative governance based upon individual responsibility, personal sovereignty and open source, transparent decision-making (making good use of technology) is surely the better way ahead?

It is time for people to reclaim their power and kick these parasites into touch. If you are waiting for someone else to come to the rescue with all the answers you will be waiting a very long time I'm afraid...

The power is within you to make changes, use it!
I agree with what you are saying, but the power is not really there. I maintain we should pay the councillors more, but cut down the number of them. They get paid between 10k and 15k and we have about 38 or something like that. We would get better candidates if we paid them 25k and only had 20 of them. Then I am sure the power would be there.
[quote][p][bold]Caption Sensible[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]cj07589[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]cosmick[/bold] wrote: Paying about £1700 a year is to much, i know we need the services but there must be a way of getting this down. Any ideas?[/p][/quote]Merge the councils, centralisation with less bureaucracy quicker decisions and cost savings. Too much commonsense for this lot, after turkey's don't vote for Christmas do they?[/p][/quote]The old Statist argument... Centralisation has never worked and has only ever produced an even more bureaucratic, inefficient and costly form of governance. Honestly, we just keep going round in circles... A form of collaborative governance based upon individual responsibility, personal sovereignty and open source, transparent decision-making (making good use of technology) is surely the better way ahead? It is time for people to reclaim their power and kick these parasites into touch. If you are waiting for someone else to come to the rescue with all the answers you will be waiting a very long time I'm afraid... The power is within you to make changes, use it![/p][/quote]I agree with what you are saying, but the power is not really there. I maintain we should pay the councillors more, but cut down the number of them. They get paid between 10k and 15k and we have about 38 or something like that. We would get better candidates if we paid them 25k and only had 20 of them. Then I am sure the power would be there. MrTomSmith
  • Score: 0

12:32am Wed 6 Aug 14

greentangerine says...

Everyone in Dorset pays the same for DCC, police and fire. What's left is your local council(s). For WDDC areas this is the WDDC charge plus either Town Council (ie Dorchester) or your Parish Council. All this is available online, published in the Dorset Echo and a matter of record.

You'd imagine that a zealous Dorset Echo reporter could work through the data and come up with a definitive answer; we live in hope.
Everyone in Dorset pays the same for DCC, police and fire. What's left is your local council(s). For WDDC areas this is the WDDC charge plus either Town Council (ie Dorchester) or your Parish Council. All this is available online, published in the Dorset Echo and a matter of record. You'd imagine that a zealous Dorset Echo reporter could work through the data and come up with a definitive answer; we live in hope. greentangerine
  • Score: 0

9:02am Wed 6 Aug 14

CaughtJester says...

MrTomSmith wrote:
Caption Sensible wrote:
cj07589 wrote:
cosmick wrote:
Paying about £1700 a year is to much, i know we need the services but there must be a way of getting this down. Any ideas?
Merge the councils, centralisation with less bureaucracy quicker decisions and cost savings. Too much commonsense for this lot, after turkey's don't vote for Christmas do they?
The old Statist argument...

Centralisation has never worked and has only ever produced an even more bureaucratic, inefficient and costly form of governance.

Honestly, we just keep going round in circles...

A form of collaborative governance based upon individual responsibility, personal sovereignty and open source, transparent decision-making (making good use of technology) is surely the better way ahead?

It is time for people to reclaim their power and kick these parasites into touch. If you are waiting for someone else to come to the rescue with all the answers you will be waiting a very long time I'm afraid...

The power is within you to make changes, use it!
I agree with what you are saying, but the power is not really there. I maintain we should pay the councillors more, but cut down the number of them. They get paid between 10k and 15k and we have about 38 or something like that. We would get better candidates if we paid them 25k and only had 20 of them. Then I am sure the power would be there.
WPBC Councillors basic allowance is £4,000 (or there abouts). There are 36 of those. Special responsibility allowances (around £3,000) for briefholder positions and group leadership positions.

DCC Councillors basic allowance is £10,000 and there are 45 of those. Special responsibility allowance for cabinet positions, committee chair positions and group leaderships positions (between £5k and £10k) and no one Councillor can claim more than one SRA.

All of this is available online.

That said, it would make sense to merge all councils, creating a unitary, thereby enabling us to pay Councillors more, which would in turn make it more appealing to a wider-variety (and hopefully better able) number of local people.
[quote][p][bold]MrTomSmith[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Caption Sensible[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]cj07589[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]cosmick[/bold] wrote: Paying about £1700 a year is to much, i know we need the services but there must be a way of getting this down. Any ideas?[/p][/quote]Merge the councils, centralisation with less bureaucracy quicker decisions and cost savings. Too much commonsense for this lot, after turkey's don't vote for Christmas do they?[/p][/quote]The old Statist argument... Centralisation has never worked and has only ever produced an even more bureaucratic, inefficient and costly form of governance. Honestly, we just keep going round in circles... A form of collaborative governance based upon individual responsibility, personal sovereignty and open source, transparent decision-making (making good use of technology) is surely the better way ahead? It is time for people to reclaim their power and kick these parasites into touch. If you are waiting for someone else to come to the rescue with all the answers you will be waiting a very long time I'm afraid... The power is within you to make changes, use it![/p][/quote]I agree with what you are saying, but the power is not really there. I maintain we should pay the councillors more, but cut down the number of them. They get paid between 10k and 15k and we have about 38 or something like that. We would get better candidates if we paid them 25k and only had 20 of them. Then I am sure the power would be there.[/p][/quote]WPBC Councillors basic allowance is £4,000 (or there abouts). There are 36 of those. Special responsibility allowances (around £3,000) for briefholder positions and group leadership positions. DCC Councillors basic allowance is £10,000 and there are 45 of those. Special responsibility allowance for cabinet positions, committee chair positions and group leaderships positions (between £5k and £10k) and no one Councillor can claim more than one SRA. All of this is available online. That said, it would make sense to merge all councils, creating a unitary, thereby enabling us to pay Councillors more, which would in turn make it more appealing to a wider-variety (and hopefully better able) number of local people. CaughtJester
  • Score: 0

2:31pm Wed 6 Aug 14

B. Jaye says...

In 2005 I attended a public meeting arranged by Dorset County Council to inform the public how our council tax money was being spent. At the end of the meeting the public were given the opportunity to air their views which I did, my question was why did, we need 7 Chief Executive Officers, Heads of Finance and Human Resources Managers etc, etc and why were councils not merged along with services, there response was it was not possible and I did not know what I was talking about.
Today we are now seeing the merging of services and councils with some of these highly paid executives removed but it probably will not be enough as the elected councillors will still be in position of which we have 201 in district councils many of which are elected to other bodies such as Town and Parishes. Our biggest problem is the majority of councillors are aligned to political parties and do not speak up for their electors but act as a puppet for the party they represent, we also suffer from many of them being past their sell by date and should have been put out to grass by their electorate.
In the near future perhaps another district council will merge with Weymouth & Portland and West Dorset if this happens will we see any reduction in our bills, I doubt it.
Since the Isitfair Campaign was formed in 2003 to stop the huge rises in precepts it has held several meetings with The Department of Communities & Local Government regarding the reform of the council tax system and has drawn up documents for reform of an unfair tax system.
Because of the allocation of Government funding extra responsibilities have been forced on local councils particularly the shires so much so it is now a national tax masquerading as a local tax, Central Government more or less set the rates, only 6% of variance in council tax per dwelling is accounted for by local authorities.
I like many others are fed up with hearing that the Labour Government doubled council tax precepts in their period of office, this being the case who is responsible for the other 156% rise in some districts in Dorset. What the present Government does not understand is the present levels of council tax demands are too many, un-affordable.
The answer to this unfair system of taxation could be to return Education and Social Services responsibilities to Central Government and let us the taxpayers pay for our local services. Yes it would mean a small increase in income tax but it would reduce considerably the council tax precept and bring about fairness, something that was included in The Bill presented to Parliament in 1991 which does not exist today.
In 2005 I attended a public meeting arranged by Dorset County Council to inform the public how our council tax money was being spent. At the end of the meeting the public were given the opportunity to air their views which I did, my question was why did, we need 7 [seven] Chief Executive Officers, Heads of Finance and Human Resources Managers etc, etc and why were councils not merged along with services, there response was it was not possible and I did not know what I was talking about. Today we are now seeing the merging of services and councils with some of these highly paid executives removed but it probably will not be enough as the elected councillors will still be in position of which we have 201 in district councils many of which are elected to other bodies such as Town and Parishes. Our biggest problem is the majority of councillors are aligned to political parties and do not speak up for their electors but act as a puppet for the party they represent, we also suffer from many of them being past their sell by date and should have been put out to grass by their electorate. In the near future perhaps another district council will merge with Weymouth & Portland and West Dorset if this happens will we see any reduction in our bills, I doubt it. Since the Isitfair Campaign was formed in 2003 to stop the huge rises in precepts it has held several meetings with The Department of Communities & Local Government regarding the reform of the council tax system and has drawn up documents for reform of an unfair tax system. Because of the allocation of Government funding extra responsibilities have been forced on local councils particularly the shires so much so it is now a national tax masquerading as a local tax, Central Government more or less set the rates, only 6% of variance in council tax per dwelling is accounted for by local authorities. I like many others are fed up with hearing that the Labour Government doubled council tax precepts in their period of office, this being the case who is responsible for the other 156% rise in some districts in Dorset. What the present Government does not understand is the present levels of council tax demands are too many, un-affordable. The answer to this unfair system of taxation could be to return Education and Social Services responsibilities to Central Government and let us the taxpayers pay for our local services. Yes it would mean a small increase in income tax but it would reduce considerably the council tax precept and bring about fairness, something that was included in The Bill presented to Parliament in 1991 which does not exist today. B. Jaye
  • Score: 0

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