Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points Of View -

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Coun­cil tax rises this year were capped by the govern­ment at 1.99%. For very low tax­ing au­thor­i­ties, this meant a very small rise. As you may know, Ash­ford’s el­e­ment of coun­cil tax is the low­est in Kent and one of the low­est in the coun­try. Last week, the Sec­re­tary of State for the Depart­ment for Com­mu­ni­ties and Lo­cal Govern­ment, Greg Clark, gave Ash­ford and other au­thor­i­ties with very low coun­cil tax spe­cial dis­pen­sa­tion to raise their el­e­ment of coun­cil tax by up to £5 for the forth­com­ing fi­nan­cial year.

Cab­i­net took the view that it would not rec­om­mend rais­ing coun­cil tax by the full £5 but by £4.55 a year. If ap­proved on Fe­bru­ary 18 by full coun­cil, the £4.55 rise will re­sult in the charge for band D prop­er­ties be­ing £150 for the 2016-17 fi­nan­cial year. A rise, equat­ing to around 38p per month, which would en­able us to partly ad­dress the re­duc­tion in grant fund­ing from cen­tral govern­ment. The av­er­age district coun­cil tax for band D prop­er­ties in Kent is set to rise to £190.35 for 2016-17.

Ash­ford’s el­e­ment of coun­cil tax has been frozen for the past two fi­nan­cial years. While we col­lect all the coun­cil tax, we only re­ceive 11p out of ev­ery £1 col­lected. The re­main­der goes to Kent County Coun­cil, Kent Po­lice, Kent Fire & Res­cue and the parish coun­cils.

We are proud to of­fer the low­est coun­cil tax in Kent, and will con­tinue to keep taxes and charges as low as pos­si­ble.

I was pleased to see that de­mo­li­tion work has be­gun on the old 1960 Spear­point Pav­il­ion, in prepa­ra­tion for the new Ken­ning­ton com­mu­nity build­ing. It is some­thing I know all lo­cal peo­ple have wanted for a long time. ABC mem­bers and of­fi­cers have worked hard, along with the Ken­ning­ton Com­mu­nity Fo­rum, user groups and the Ash­ford & District Sun­day Foot­ball League, to make this hap­pen.

We are de­lighted to wel­come five new lo­cal de­sign­ers and artists into Made In Ash­ford in Park Mall. The Lit­tle Red Hen Jew­ellery, Ni­cola Jen­nings Art, Mul­berry Glass Art, Juju Art and Som­nus & Seb have joined the ex­ist­ing busi­nesses. Made In Ash­ford opened last Oc­to­ber, and has had a pos­i­tive re­sponse from vis­i­tors, who love its unique prod­ucts.

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