The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose by 10.1% in the 12 months to January 2023. Energy suppliers have increased out-of-contract commercial gas rates by an average of 180%, and out-of-contract commercial electricity rates by an average of 130% since August 2021.
Increasing the precept by 10% equates to an annual increase for Band D households of £11.86 or 23 pence per week. Even with this increase, £17K of WPC’s reserves will be required to run the parish for 2023/24. In the present climate setting a lower precept would be detrimental to the long-term financial position of Wrotham Parish Council and be a false economy. Built up reserves don’t last forever!
The location of Wrotham makes our village continually vulnerable to large scale speculative planning applications and having a small electorate (tax base), unlike Borough Green for example, limits the amount of money we can raise. Increasing the council tax by 10% only raised the income of Wrotham Parish Council by £13K.
WPC’s utility contracts expired in March 2023, the electric costs of the street lighting alone, have increased by £7K. The cost of maintaining the burial ground is considerable and TMBC withdrew its financial assistance several years ago. WPC is one of the few parishes to have its own burial ground.
Our community is now faced with the prospect of the unbudgeted expenditure of opposing a revised application from Moto for the lorry park for 200 vehicles. We also await the outcome of Local Plan Consultations, there remains a strong possibility that the Parish will need to defend itself against 3000 extra dwellings and an urban environment, if Borough Green Garden’s is reselected.