Parish Councils are primarily funded by “precept”. This is money claimed by the council from the District Council, who themselves receive all Council Tax payments.
There are two separate elements to note in considering the precept – the actual amount of money passed to the Council, and something called the “Band D Equivalent”. The latter is the figure quoted on Council Tax bills, and is based on a complicated formula laid down in the Council Tax legislation. As well as the actual precepted charge, the Band D Equivalent takes account of such things as:
- The number of properties in each tax band. This is affected by, amongst other things, the number of new properties built during the year, the number demolished, and the number whose band has changed as a result of successful appeals to the Valuation Tribunal against the banding.
- The number of properties in each band subject to deductions/allowances. This includes those which attract single-occupier allowance and empty property allowance.
- The estimated collection rate. This is the amount of the total assessed tax which the District Council estimate (based on previous experience) that they will be able to successfully collect.
All these factors are variable from year to year, and are not known in advance. The net effect, however, is that an unchanged cash precept may result in an increased or decreased Band D Equivalent, and vice versa.
Larger parishes tend to set their precept by reference to the Band D Equivalent. The actual amount of their precept will thefore result from multiplying this figure by the number of Band D Equivalent properties in the parish. Smaller parishes, including Upper Beeding, generally set a precept in terms of an actual sum of money, and the Band D Equivalent results from dividing this sum by the number of Band D equivalent properties.
The precept set by Upper Beeding for 2017/18 is £135,000, an increase of £10,000 (8%) on the £125,000 which had been unchanged for the previous 4 years. As stated above, the impact of this in the Band D Equivalent value shown on bills is dependent of factors outside our control.