Council tonight received an update on the Council Tax Base – an estimate of the number of residential properties in the Borough which are subject to Council Tax.
The Council’s approach to encouraging and delivering economic and housing growth has been a major driver in the Council’s financial strategy in recent years.
It has helped to maintain the delivery of key public services through the additional Council Tax receipts which are generated. This has seen the Council Tax Base rise by 2% per year for the last three years, and a rise of 27% overall since 2013/14.
Through Council Tax, an additional £14.5m of permanent funding has been generated, without which Council services would have been cut.
Whilst the Council has seen an increase in Council Tax receipts over the years, it is expected to slow down in 2024/2025 due to a reduction in the pace of housebuilding due to the current national economic challenges and an increase in the level of discounts being applied for and awarded. This is mainly due to the hardship being experienced by Knowsley residents as the cost of living pressure continues.
The proposed Council Tax Base for 2024/2025 will rise by 0.4% compared to 2023/24 – an increase of 137 Band D properties.
The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill introduces new discretionary powers for local authorities regarding Council Tax Premiums. Local authorities will be able to introduce a Council Tax Premium for a Second Home and will be able to reduce the minimum time before a Council Tax Premium can be charged on an Empty Property from two years to one year.
The Council is currently seeking the views of residents regarding the regulations, which would enable the Council to charge an additional premium of 100% of the standard Council Tax due for properties that have been unoccupied and unfurnished for a year. The Council would also be able to add an additional 100% premium charge to the standard Council Tax charge for properties that are not occupied on a regular basis.
You can share your views by completing an online survey on the Council’s website. The closing date for feedback is 19 February 2024.
This proposal will support the Council’s plans to bring empty homes back into use and increase the availability of homes available across the Borough. The proposal will be discussed at Council on 6 March 2024.
Knowsley Council opposes the Government’s continued reliance on Council Tax to fund Adult Social Care services. In areas with a low tax base, such as Knowsley, the amount of funding which can be raised locally through Council Tax falls far short of the amounts which are needed. The Council continues to lobby the Government to provide sufficient grant funding to avoid excessive increases to residents’ Council Tax bills.
Cllr Jayne Aston, Cabinet Member for Resources, said:
“With the Government failing to give local authorities the funding they need, Councils are being forced to rely more and more on Council Tax to maintain the support and services we provide to our communities. This is unacceptable.
“Our ambitious house building programme has helped to increase the funding we receive through Council Tax. However, the demand for our services has also increased, largely due to the pandemic and more recently, the cost of living crisis.
“We are continuing to do all that we can to lobby the Government for fairer funding and ensuring areas like Knowsley receive the funding they need and deserve, but we are doing all that we can to generate funding too.
“I am pleased that we are reporting a positive picture in terms of our Council Tax base and we will continue to deliver our ambitious plans for the Borough which will help to maintain the support and services Knowsley residents and businesses value and need.”