Every year parish councils are required to review their budget and set a precept for the following financial year. The precept is the element of council tax that parish councils request to pay for the important work they undertake.
IFPC carefully budgets its precept to maintain our villages. It pays for the upkeep of Fryerning Cemetery and Fairfield recreation ground, the closed churchyards in Ingatestone and Fryerning and our playground facilities. We pay for parish council owned bins and dog waste bins to be emptied and for planting and watering flowerbeds and planters. IFPC subsidises the two-hour free parking at Bell Mead and Market Place along with many other individual projects, including this year’s High Street Christmas trees.
At the full council meeting on the 11 January, it was resolved that the parish precept be increased by 6% or £9,366 from £156,100 to £165,466 which is equivalent to a year’s increase of £3.92 for a Band D property for the coming financial year (2018-19). This decision was not taken lightly and was discussed at length.
The primary reason behind the increase in the precept is because of the removal of the discretionary grant that all parish councils had previously received from Brentwood Borough Council. For IFPC this equated to a loss of £9,969.
All parish councils are also faced with the threat of central government precept capping, which would effectively result in a reduction of funding in real terms. Therefore, it was prudent that IFPC increased the precept to include the grant loss before capping came into force.
Parish councils must also prove that they are financially secure and able to cover all short-term liabilities. With this increase in the precept and the parish council’s reserves policy, IFPC can demonstrate that this requirement is in place.
IFPC chair, Cllr Paul Jeater comments “The parish council were very conscious of the need to be prudent in the current economic climate, however, an announcement from Brentwood Borough Council advised us that we would not be receiving any additional grants from now on. This substantial loss of money has regrettably meant that we have had little alternative but to raise the precept this coming financial year. We have a number of exciting projects planned for 2018 – 2019 including the renovation of Seymour Field and Pavilion and the creation of an apprenticeship. As ever, we will be striving to obtain grants from as many sources as possible to assist in these ventures.”