Council expects tax surplus, but rates deficit this year

Northumberland County Council is expecting a healthy £2.4million surplus on council tax this year, but an even larger deficit on business rates.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 14th November 2018, 1:43 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th November 2018, 1:49 pm
Coun Nick Oliver, the cabinet member for corporate services.
Coun Nick Oliver, the cabinet member for corporate services.

A report to Tuesday’s (November 13) meeting of the authority’s cabinet explained that the overall estimated surplus for council tax for the year ending March 31, 2019, is £2.41million, of which the council’s share is £2.26million. The remaining £150,000 goes to Northumbria Police.

But in terms of business rates, the overall estimated deficit is £2.69million, of which the council is responsible for £1.34million with the other half having to be picked up by the Government.

Coun Nick Oliver, the cabinet member for corporate services, explained that the council-tax surplus is down to a growing tax base, ie more houses, and the council’s high rate of collection.

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In terms of business rates, the shortfall is largely due to money set aside to meet rating appeals, where businesses challenge what they are being charged and can be eligible for a rebate dating back to the valuation list changes.

There are currently appeals dating back to the 2010 list and the county council has seen multimillion-pound bills in recent years, for example, for the Alcan site and for the police headquarters at Ponteland.

Coun Oliver said: “The overall position across the two areas is positive and certainly the budget out-turn we are expecting at the year end is currently looking positive too.”

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service