Parish council tax increases revealed

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Parish and town councils are promising to provide value for money as they announce their annual precept charges.

The amounts that will be added to council tax bills this year range from less than £20 for those on outlying villages to a substantial £150 for residents of busy Woughton parish.

Most show an increase of between two and three per cent from last year. One of the highest hikes is in Wolverton and Greenleys where householders must pay 5.6 per cent more.

A town council spokesman said: “We had no increase here last year so it seems more this time.”

Wolverton is one of the few larger parishes to publish its accounts, leaving it open to criticism.

One resident said: “They’ve spent £140,000 on staffing costs. They have three caretakers, yet pay contractors £5,364 a year to water the town’s plants. Is that really necessary?”

Woughton Community Council pays £153,000 for office and environmental staff, plus £124,000 for youth and community workers.

It pays more than £61,600 on its office accommodation and £14,000 on grant aid.

The large parish of Shenley Brook End, which also publishes its councillors’ allowances spent £196,000 on employees’ wages last year.

Meanwhile, West Bletchley Town Council does not publish full its accounts but insists: “We give value for money.”

A full breakdown of 2013 parish precepts is available on the Milton Keynes Council website.