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Dartford council looks likely to freeze tax for fifth year in row

Dartford is expected to once again freeze its council tax bill.

Council tax bills could go up. Library image.
Council tax bills could go up. Library image.

A decision is yet to be made on whether the borough council will raise its share of council tax – but it does not expect to.

Members will be discussing the budget at a meeting on Monday where it is proposed that councillors freeze the tax for the fifth year running.

A report given to members said: “A key policy objective of lead members is to ensure that the burden of pressure arising from the national deficit reduction measures should be borne within the council wherever possible and not passed on to residents.

“One of the single most significant measures of the council’s impact on households is the level of council tax.”

Council officers have proposed no increase for 2014/15, meaning Band D residents will still pay just 162.90 for the fifth consecutive year.

If the authority agrees not to increase council tax, then the government will provide councils with a grant equivalent to a rise of 1%.

The grant for Dartford is approximately £58,000, but avoiding a rise would mean a loss of approximately £450,000 over a five-year period.

The report added: “Members understand that many families continue to face a real terms reduction in income but increasing costs.

“Accordingly, it is proposed to take the benefit of the grant and to maintain the level of council tax at the same level as the current year.”

However, Dartford residents will still face an increase in their overall bill after Kent County Council (KCC) agreed a 1.9% rise.

This increase will put an extra £20 on average bills, with the tax for Band D homes rising from £1,047 to £1,068.

The county council’s charge represents the biggest slice of the bill.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service has also revealed plans to raise its council tax precept, which has also been frozen since April 2010.

The current Band D property council tax for the emergency service is £67.95 per household and a rise of £1.35 is proposed.

Kent Police Authority is also expected to raise its precept from £141.47 to £144.28.

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