Why the Precept Has Gone Up this Year.

The Precept money which the Parish receives from the Council Tax we all pay to WFDC is currently just under £29,000 for the year 2022/3, and this will go up to just over £34,000 for 2023/4,  It’s used to pay for running the Parish over the year. Two thirds of the total received goes to paying for grass cutting, litter collection, street lighting, general maintenance of things such as the benches, the bins, the bus shelters, the defibrillators, and in making occasional small grants or donations to village causes.  The remaining third goes on administration – we are very pleased to have recently appointed Louise Sahota as our part-time Clerk.  This is a salaried post, and Louise will run a virtual office which needs the usual infrastructure of computer, broadband, stationery, printing, etc. to support the meetings and to meet the statutory governance requirements, with audited accounts, public records, newsletters and websites .  Louise will also be the main contact for the contractors who provide grass cutting services which WFDC have delegated to the Parishes as part of the Localism Act.

Over recent years, and of course especially in the last twelve months, these annual operating costs have risen to the point where we found ourselves unable to set a budget for next year which would fund the services we provide.  We knew that we were going to have to increase the Precept in order to set a legal budget, and in reality we needed to increase the Precept income by £5,000 per year, the cost of which will be spread over the 804 dwellings registered for Council Tax.  The cost per dwelling will vary according to the Council Tax Band, but £5,000 is an average of £6.22 per household, or 12p per week.  Because the Precept is currently quite low (only 1 Parish in Wyre Forest – Broome – has a lower per household Precept than Churchill & Blakedown in 2022/3), the increase looks disproportionately large – but that’s what we need to be able to continue to provide the day-to-day services.

A few further points for clarity – the Precept is not used for running the Village Car Park, or the Signal Box, both of which have separate income streams.  We receive other grants fo specific projects– from District and County Councillors who have generously assisted with money for items such as the five VAS Speed Signs, and the village gateways.  Worcestershire CC reimburse us for the Lengthsman work, which we have all appreciated these last years.  Any projects such as renewal of the Neighbourhood Plan are funded by applying for grants from external bodies.  And the Parish Councillors give of their time free of charge.

I hope residents find this information helpful, but if there are any queries, my email address is suef@churchillandblakedown-pc.gov.uk , or you can contact Louise on clerk@churchillandblakedown-pc.gov.uk.  And of course, you are welcome to come along to the Parish Council monthly meeting (2nd Tuesday each month except August – details on the website) or to the Annual Parish Meeting, which this year will be held at the Sports Pavilion on 23rd May at 7pm.


Sue Fowler


Churchill & Blakedown Parish Council