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Borough Council misleads taxpayers…

March 13, 2013

Winners & losers, but some see 1.9% increase on tax they had been told was 'frozen'

The pamphlet's claim that Council Tax has been frozen is at odds with the 1.9% increase shown on this bill.

The pamphlet’s claim that Council Tax has been frozen is at odds with the 1.9% increase shown on this bill.

With Council Tax bills dropping through letterboxes this morning, some householders in some parts of the Borough of Eastleigh are wondering how the Borough Council’s claim to have “frozen” Council Tax translates into in increase in their bills.

Council Tax Bills being received in Hedge End today, showed a 1.9% increase in the Eastleigh Borough Council component of Council Tax, despite a headline on the front page of the accompanying pamphlet which announced Your Borough Council Tax – frozen again!

Inside the pamphlet, the Borough Council repeat their claim that “The Borough’s element of your Council Tax has been frozen for 2013-14”.

Clearly a misleading claim, in view of the 1.9% increase to be seen on this bill, Eastleigh News phoned the Council Tax Department to enquire. We were told that;

This was due to the special expenses being apportioned differently   this year. Some parts of the Borough would pay more whilst others would pay less, but across the Borough as a whole the level of Council Tax was unchanged.

When challenged, the Council official conceded that;

“The pamphlet is  somewhat misleading…”

Further investigation has shown that the story is indeed different in other parts of the Borough. Another Council Tax bill that we have seen shows that the Borough component of Council Tax has actually been reduced in the unparished part of Eastleigh Town Centre, by 2% this year.

Some Council Tax bills in Eastleigh have been reduced this year.

Some Council Tax bills in Eastleigh have been reduced this year.

In the recent by-election in Eastleigh, the Lib Dems claimed credit for holding down Council Tax, to help hard-pressed families, and said they were pleased to have done so again for the 2013-14 financial year. Similar claims are likely to be seen in the campaign material for the forthcoming County Council elections.

But these latest bills show that the picture is not the same across the whole Borough and that the claims that your Council Tax is frozen are completely misleading. Even if you are one of the lucky householders whose bill shows an actual decrease, it simply isn’t true for Council Officials or the Lib Dems to say that it is frozen…

Eastleigh News asked the Borough Council’s press office for an official statement on this problem. They replied;

“The average borough Council Tax for a band D property has not changed this year and has, in fact, has been frozen for the third year in succession.

However, the Council operates a system of ‘Special Expenses’ to  ensure that residents in parished areas do not get charged by the borough council for those services that are already provided by their parish and town councils. For instance, some Parish Councils maintain their own parks and open spaces and others prefer to let the Borough Council provide this service. The level of ‘Special Expenses’ does vary up and down across the borough and contributes to the range of different levels of council tax depending on where you live in the borough.”

Cllr Keith House, Leader of Eastleigh Borough Council and Leader of the local Liberal Democrats also issued a brief comment to Eastleigh News saying;

We have rightly claimed that Eastleigh’s tax bills are actually lower in both real and cash terms. There is some variation from parish to parish. I can’t vouch for County-wide bodies!

34 Responses to Borough Council misleads taxpayers…

  1. Matthew Myatt on March 13, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Once again the Fib Dems spin their lies and the people of Eastleigh pay the price. Still, Eastleigh folk can ensure they continue to be shafted and lied too by the Fib Dems by keeping on voting for them. Well Done Eastleigh.!!

    A great good story and a great bit of work Eastleigh News.

  2. Rosie on March 13, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    No surprise there! No different to the continual electioneering claims of “protecting local countryside”. Nor – and much worse as it seemed to deliberately mislead residents to vote Lib Dem – issuing an election campaign leaflet to Bursledon and Old Netley residents saying “protecting EVERY site in and around Bursledon from development for the next 20 years” whilst forgetting to add the words “EXCEPT HUGE swathes of countryside and ancient oak-tree lined meadows (forming the only green space and sound barrier between the M27 and A27) which are ALREADY in the Local Plan to 2029 and which we plan to build on as fast as we can!”.
    How DO our Lib Dem Councillors sleep at night?
    Also, does no-one regulate what they actually say or do we just have to vote them out to stop them continually at best misleading, and at worst lying, us??

    • Ray Turner on March 14, 2013 at 7:53 am

      I’ve just looked through some of my older council tax bills, and have noticed that the Borough has hit us with “special expenses” for the last few years.

      Those “special expenses” had become routine, but now seem to have been absorbed back into the main Borough Council component.

      In Hedge End, in the Council Tax bill for my band C property;

      in 2009/10 there were no special expenses explicitly listed
      in 2010/11 special expenses £6.40
      in 2011/12 special expenses £6.34
      in 2012/13 special expenses £6.34 (genuinely frozen)

      in 2013/14 there are no special expenses listed, but the Borough Component (which is supposed to be frozen) has increased. The 1.9% increase on my bill has been applied to the total of Basic Tax and Special Expenses from last year.

      The Lib Dems have definitely lied to us Rosie.
      The only option we have, is to vote them out…

  3. angermanagement on March 13, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    ours is no higher than last year….

    • Ray Turner on March 13, 2013 at 6:45 pm

      Thanks angermanagement. Which part of the Borough do you live in…?

      • angermanagement on March 13, 2013 at 10:48 pm

        actually in Eastleigh..
        hcc 0.0% inc 922.56
        police & crime 3.4%inc 134.44
        ebc 2.0% decrease 161.96

        total tax for year 1273.52

  4. Steve on March 13, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Our council tax is actually up again despite this leaflet celebrating the freezing of council tax. Just written an email to the council. Looking forward to their reply.

    • Ray Turner on March 13, 2013 at 6:51 pm

      There is a small increase in the total bill anyway, due to the Hampshire Police & Crime Commissioner. There’s a new top job to fund…!

      What we are specifically interested in here, is the Eastleigh Borough Council component. Do let us know which part of Eastleigh you live in and what the % change in your bill is.

      • Steve on March 13, 2013 at 7:09 pm

        Hampshire County Council – £1499.16
        Police – 3.4% increase £218.47
        Fire and Rescure – £88.66
        Eastleigh BC Council Tax – 0.7% increase £196.03
        Chandler’s Ford Parish – 2.1% decrease. £21.16

        Total – £2023.48 ( an increase of over £8)

        Even though £8 is not a lot they still shouldn’t celebrate a freeze when it’s not. The council might say this is a trivial amount in which case I’d be more than happy to take all those extra eight pounds off their hands. 🙂

        • Ray Turner on March 13, 2013 at 7:23 pm

          Thanks Steve. You’ve hit the nail on the head.

          The amount is trivial really, but a freeze means ‘no change’.

          If there’s an increase (or even a decrease) in the Borough component, a change of some sort, the Borough Council and the Lib Dems cannot reasonably claim that our Council Tax is frozen.

          Although Council Tax might be frozen across the Borough as a whole, from the bureaucrats point of view or the politicians point of view, it certainly isn’t frozen from where you & I are sitting…

  5. Pete Stewart on March 13, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    I’ve got the following figures on mine (Bishopstoke East)

    EBC Council Tax 1.3% DECREASE! 112.33
    Hants Fire & Rescue no change 54.56
    HCC no change 922.56
    Police & Crime Commissioner 3.4 % INCREASE 134.44
    Bishopstoke Parish Council 3.4 % INCREASE 35.19
    TOTAL £1,259.19

    • Ray Turner on March 13, 2013 at 9:05 pm

      Thanks Pete.
      Looks to me as though you are in a band C property too.

      Interesting to note that a Band C property in Bishopstoke pays a total of £147.52 to EBC and Bishopstoke Parish Council.

      In Hedge End, a Band C property has to pay a total of £179.32 to EBC and HETC.

      Are we getting good value for money in Hedge End, for that extra £32…?

  6. maureen on March 13, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    I guess the EU is to blame for the increases, Pete?

    • Ray Turner on March 14, 2013 at 9:05 am

      Even Pete might struggle to blame this on Europe, Maureen.

      What we can argue though is that the by-election result would have been different if Hedge Enders had been told that their Council Tax was going up.

      Even if it didn’t produce a UKIP victory, I’m sure that some votes would have been cast differently and thus the margin of victory different…

      These little lies that are told by the Lib Dems are significant…

  7. Eastleigh Xpress on March 13, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    Let us not forget that fees and charges for direct services have gone up average 4%.

    I also pay EBC extra money on top of my council tax to be able to park outside my house or have my garden waste taken away.

    • Ray Turner on March 14, 2013 at 7:56 am

      I refuse to use the garden waste service on principle, given that I pay over £1000 in Council Tax every year.

      Fortunately I do not have the problem with parking permits, but the charges for that would annoy me intensely….

  8. Rose on March 13, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Bursledon Eastleigh Borough figure has slightly decreased but the Parish Council (also led by Keith House!) has increased by over double % the decreased figure. We see that the Conservative-run County Council figure has stayed level though – ie 0% – conveiently ignored by the Lib Dems in their leaflet!
    Also, shouldn’t David Cameron be paying for the new Police Commissioner roles? Why us? We didn’t ask for this additional role so why are we having to pay for it locally?!

    • Ray Turner on March 14, 2013 at 7:35 am

      Hants CC have indeed manage to freeze their component of Council Tax, but its still the lions share of our bills, over nine times what Eastleigh take me….

      Hants CC need to be cutting that tax, not freezing it…!

      • renard on March 16, 2013 at 6:19 pm

        Surely it’s inevitable that the county will have to tax more than the boroughs? County has enormous responsibilities, especially education, highways and social services.

        • Ray Turner on March 16, 2013 at 9:52 pm

          Yes, but by a factor of 9…?
          That seems excessive to me.

          My preferred option, as I first said many years ago, is to scrap the three tier system completely and switch to a single-tier Unitary Authority system of Local Government for Eastleigh.

          Think about it. Fewer politicians, fewer elections, fewer campaign leaflets, fewer bureaucrats, less opportunity for this sort of creative accounting…

          Surely its got to be a good thing…?

          • CR on April 2, 2013 at 1:08 am

            Er, because a neighbouring authority just to the south is a shining example of what a unitary authority can do. No, wait…

  9. renard on March 13, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    One point which occurs to me is that Lib Dem EBC are forever banging on that they have frozen our Council Tax “unlike Tory councils”. But hang on – once again this year, TORY Hampshire County Council have not increased the county Council Tax.
    Another half truth (lie?) from the good old Fib Dems.

    Anyway, what a strange story you have uncovered! And Keith House’s obtuse comment is (perhaps deliberately) no help at all.

    I’m in Botley, and Valuation Band E. My bill is different again from the others quoted!

    Hants County Council 0.0% increase. £1268.52
    Police 3.4% increase. 184.86
    Fire 0.0% increase. 75.02
    Eastleigh BC 6.5% decrease. 140.78
    Botley Parish Council 0.0% increase. 121.86


    • Stinker on March 13, 2013 at 11:25 pm

      Hedge End – EBC part up 1.9%. The new managing plod costing us more. The rest is unchanged.

  10. renard on March 13, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    Sorry, didn’t finish my comment!

    TOTAL payable is £1791.04 (same as last year).

    It all seems rather odd to me!

    Final thought – as you point out, look at the increase in Police tax! As predicted, we are having to pay for Cameron’s completely unwanted and unnecessary gimmick of Police Commissioner. Certainly we see no increase in policing, just the opposite.

  11. Ray Turner on March 14, 2013 at 8:01 am

    Thanks renard. Botley seem to have done rather well, but even here the claim that the Borough Council component has been “frozen” is untrue.

    A 6.4% decrease is a change and tax isn’t “frozen” if it has changed…

  12. Rosie on March 14, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    In Bursledon, there’s a constant problem from bonfires, especially during the daytime and almost daily through the spring-autumn months, which means we have to keep our windows closed and drive somewhere to breathe in fresh air rather than enjoy sitting in our own gardens! Can’t put washing out much either or it stinks. The smoke also blows over the M27 continually but the Council do nothing about it, despite complaints over the last 5 years.
    If the Council made this garden waste service free to everyone (and encouraged older residents to use their free bags option) it would stop the constant bonfires and Eastleigh might then be telling the truth with all the claims on signs around the Borough (including just down the road from here!) saying that Eastleigh is “tackling climate change” – I don’t think so!!
    We could have 3-weekly recycling bin collections to enable FREE green bag collections.
    Also, what’s the Council doing about bringing back weekly black bin collections – essential in the summer months due to the huge number of maggots/flies and now rats everywhere. The Government told Councils to bring back weekly collections so what’s happening?

  13. Rosie on March 14, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Looks like somone is trying to soften up Botley residents (Boorley Green development) and Bursledon residents (taking away only, and best, green countryside left here) to try to get us to vote Lib Dem again! Oh how cynical I’ve become from reading and hearing all the Lib Dem propaganda!! (Can’t believe I helped vote them in – never again!).

  14. Pete Stewart on March 14, 2013 at 9:02 pm


    2012 = £1,254.91

    2013 = £1,259.08

    That’s a 0.33% increase.

  15. maureen on March 14, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    HCC provides the Lion’s share of the services we use! Think about it – EBC don’t do much for what they get compared to Hants.

  16. Pete STewart on March 14, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    BISHOPSTOKE EAST (HCC compared to EBC)

    2012 2013
    £ £

    HCC 922.56 922.56 no change
    EBC 113.75 112.33 1.3% decrease

  17. Keith Day on March 15, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Last year’s council tax leaflet gave a lot more information about special expenses etc. You have to wonder why the Lib Dems are suppressing that information this year.

  18. Ray Turner on March 15, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Remember this Keith?

    We know that Eastleigh are trying slope shoulders on some costs and get the Towns/Parishes to pay for them instead.

    Perhaps in those cases where the Town Council rightly won’t wear the extra costs being added to the Parish precept, the Council Taxpayer is screwed another way, via these “special expenses”…?

  19. maureen on March 15, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Maybe the printing budget’s been cut!

  20. Pete Stewart on March 19, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Let’s not get sidetracked by EBC when all councils are in the same predicament.

    Prices must rise, unless we want a 3rd world country. Some would argue we already have one, judging by the shocking state of our crumbling infrastructure. Why has it happened when we pay all these taxes?

    The cause is globalism. The doctrine is simple: Unbridled greed disguised as accounting necessity, i.e. source your labour from the cheapest part of the world possible and stick two fingers up to your own labour force.

    However since it is human labour which creates wealth, it follows that by exchanging British labour (especially manufacturing) for apparently “cheap” foreign goods, we are creating wealth abroad while destroying it at home.

    So not only do we destroy our wealth generating sector, but we are faced with the extra cost of unemployment too. The cost of “cheap” foreign labour is much more than our own labour.

    Meanwhile, the nation continues to consume. But if it does not simultaneously create wealth to pay for consumption, then it must borrow.

    Successive EU-globalist Conservative & Labour governments have made borrowing easier, to “pay for” the lack of wealth created by their pro-EU policies (of transferring some 5 million manufacturing jobs abroad since 1973)!

    While easy borrowing masks their economic sabotage for some years, eventually the day of reckoning comes, when the debt makes itself felt more than the problem it was supposed to mask.

    As we survey the enormity of our national debt (caused directly by successive Conservative & Labour governments) let us remember we (including our councils) have few options.

    Clearly it is madness for the Chancellor to focus on “debt”, since this debt is a symptom of the globalist problem and merely represents the borrowing necessary to stop us sliding into a 3rd world existence.

    What counts is wealth creation. If a nation is not creating wealth from its own core manufacturing base, then it is dying. That’s why Britain must bring back its core manufacturing base, to create the wealth to pays for its consumerism.

    To bring back our manufacturing base would take a decade. It would also require tariffs to compensate for the damaging effects of artificially cheap foreign labour, from countries in the world where the lifestyle is not what we would tolerate in Britain.

    But no real remedies are available as long as we remain part of the globalist EU. We cannot have protective tariffs in the EU. British jobs will continue to be sacrificed as long as we stay in the EU. Why do you think Cameron is going to open our borders to the EU in January next year? Answer: He is an EU-globalist and does not care a hoot for British workers.

    Sure, Cameron is worth £35 million and doesn’t need to care. Perhaps power is his motive, who knows. But certainly, if anyone is genuinely concerned about the way Britain has gone (is going), they should NOT vote Labour, nor Conservative, but UKIP.

    Once Britain is out of the EU, the savings alone would transform Britain within 3 years. As our manufacturing base returned, young people would actually have jobs. Of course it goes without saying that our borders would be tightly controlled, as in other countries.

    So as you contemplate your council tax bill (and other indirect charges), remember they need not be so high if only we were creating wealth. But that means we must leave the EU.

    P.S. If you want to see what lies in store for the globalist EU, study Cyprus!

    P.P.S. Thanks for reading this far!

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