The precept is the proportion of the council tax bill that pays for local services provided by the town council. It makes up only around 6% of the overall council tax bill.
An average Band D council tax payer will pay £106.28 for town council services in 2013/14, an increase of £9.60 over the whole year.
From April, the government is abolishing council tax benefit and passing responsibility for council tax support to local authorities.
For the first year the government will provide a grant to district councils to fund this but it is only equivalent to, at most, 90% of the cost of providing council tax support at current levels. The grant will be substantially reduced, and may even be withdrawn, in future years.
As the most urban and the largest parish in the district, Stroud Town Council has been hit hardest by these changes. It will receive council tax from fewer households as a result and its proportion of the government grant will not be sufficient to compensate.
In future years, a reduced or withdrawn grant will make the position even worse.
“Information from the coalition government about this new policy came very late in the budget setting process. The government should be seriously challenged for creating extreme uncertainty over future funding. In the face of this, Stroud Town Council aims to ensure that we maintain the services we provide,” said Stroud town mayor Amanda Moriarty.
The town council looks after over 20 green spaces, including cemeteries and parks, and contributes funding to organisations such as the CAB, Marah Trust, The Door Youth Project and services for the elderly such as those provided by Uplands Care Services.
“We as a council, do not believe in cutting vital local services but intend to maintain them, particularly during this continuing recession, when there are so many financial pressures on everyone, but especially on local community and voluntary groups that are of such value to local people,” said Steve Hurrell, chair of the Finance, Community and Policy Committee.
At the meeting on January 28 it was unanimously agreed to set the total precept at £423,340 for the next financial year.