Agenda item



The Leader welcomed Ramona Thevenet who had submitted a question under Section 3 of the Executive Procedure Rules regarding Council Tax.  A copy of the question together with the reply was before the Executive.  The question, together with the reply from the Leader of the Council, was presented as follows:

Question from Ramona Thevenet

Would Woking Council reconsider their intention of raising Woking Council Tax from 10% to 7%?  I believe this to be fair as it is more in line with the average wage increase last year of 6.8%.  I have obtained 116 signatures on a petition on the website where Woking residents are also unhappy with an intended 10% increase.  Link below.

Petition · Demand Fair Increase in Council Tax by Woking Council ·

Reply from Councillor Ann-Marie Barker

Local Government Minister, Simon Hoare, has said he feels a 10% increase would be 'appropriate and proportionate' for Woking Council.  Woking needs to make this increase as part of putting its own house in order.  This is part of a package, which includes Government support to get us to a balanced budget.

We did put forward a lower, benchmarked figure, which took Woking to a comparable level with the highest charging boroughs in Surrey.  It was clear that this would not be acceptable.

Most of the Council Tax paid by Woking residents goes to Surrey County Council (74%).  Woking gets just 12%.  The Police and Crime Commissioner gets 14%.  A 10% increase in Woking's share of Council Tax is a 1% increase on the total Council Tax bill.  The extra amount payable to Woking Council will be 50p a week from the baseline Band D property.

We recognise that any increase will add to cost of living struggles so will use some of the increase for a hardship fund for those who find it difficult to pay.”

Ramona Thevenet was thanked for her question and invited to ask a supplementary question.

Supplementary Question from Ramona Thevenet

“Thank you.  I don't believe that to be fair, I believe that to be lazy, sloppy, disproportionate.  I would like the Council to reconsider raising the tax proportionate to the banding of the housing.  So for example, Band A and B 6% increase, C and D 8% increase, E and F 10% increase, G plus 15% increase and whatever your accountant would have to play with the figures to make that the balanced budget.”

Reply from Councillor Ann-Marie Barker

“Thank you, I don't actually believe that’s possible within the guidelines that govern how Council Tax is applied.  Of course, if someone's in a Band A property then the increase becomes around 20 pence a week, a Band B property is around 30 pence a week.  So it's obviously proportionate, the increase in terms of the valuation of your property as set in the early 1990’s I believe.  It's not something that we want to do to put Council Tax up by that amount, but it is important people realise that they will actually pay a lot more when Surrey County Council make an increase in their Council Tax, which I understand is likely to be a 4.99% increase because they take 74% of the Council Tax.  You can imagine that's going to be substantially more of an increase that people will need to pay.  It is important we try and help people, and that's why we've set up the hardship fund to make sure there is support on our part of the Council Tax, and I would hope that Surrey County Council might do something similar for their part of the Council Tax which has a bigger impact on our residents.  Thank you very much for your question, much appreciate you taking the time to set up the petition and then when there wasn't time to submit that to come here and put a question. It is really appreciated.”

The deadline for written questions from members of the public was 12 noon, seven days before the Executive.  The next Executive would be held on 21 March 2024, so the deadline for written questions was 12 noon, 14 March 2024.