Longstanton's Council Tax (Precept)
Published: 13 April 2021
Many of you have asked about the size of the percentage increase in the Council Tax bill for Longstanton Parish Council this year, so we felt it best to put out a message to help understand why this has happened. In recent years, the Parish Council has been fiscally very careful to ensure the precept for the parish accurately reflects our costs, and is adjusted up/down as those costs change. Over the last few years the trend has been for the most part downwards.
That said, over the last few years we have welcomed a growing number of houses into the village, which now form part of Northstowe (and that includes houses that were originally in Longstanton that are in Rampton Drift, and those north of the Guided Busway). As we have been "one council" those houses have contributed, pro-rata, towards the running costs of the parish council, covering the elements we have been jointly sharing (office space, utilities, insurance, training costs for councillors, etc.). We were also very conscious that when the time came and Northstowe became it's own parish that we would see what could be a sizeable change in the number of houses in Longstanton Parish, so we took a decision to try to cushion the effect of that by setting our precept accordingly.
However, there would always come a time when we would see the restructuring of the village, and that is this year. Had we not taken careful steps to manage budgets and costs, and manage the effect of having an almost doubling of the size of the village by the addition of the houses on Northstowe, and then a substantial reduction as the parishes separate, the change this year would have been even more drastic (probably having been over a 50% increase).
It is by careful management that we have been able to contain the increase to the 22.9%, whilst ensuring Northstowe starts on a solid foundation, and Longstanton is still able to provide the services to all residents at their current levels. That increase in reality for the Band D property is less than £1 a month. We understand that this is probably not a welcome increase (especially in light of the last year), but, now we understand the new shape of the village following the community governance review, we hope that this will be the only adjustment like this we have to make until the village decides to make any big investments in future.
For those that would like to understand the numbers, Longstanton before Northstowe was built had a tax base of 1,260 properties (those expected to contribute via precept). Over the years of 2017 / 18 / 19 / 20 this has risen to a tax base of 1,981 as Northstowe houses have been built. Following the Community Governance Review, the tax base for Longstanton has fallen to 1,189. Back in 2016-17 our precept for the village was approximately £93,000. This fell back due to careful budgeting and contributions from Northstowe's development. As it stands the precept for 2021-2022 is set at £73,347, so in real terms it is lower than in 2016/2017 even though the village has a 6% smaller tax base (1,189 today versus 1,260 in 2016/17).