Council despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic have agreed a budget which will continue to protect and provide quality front line services.

In line with many other councils across the country, East Devon District Council have agreed to a small Council Tax increase. This amounts to a £5 annual Council Tax increase for an average Band D property for 2021/22 to ensure EDDC continues to secure crucial front line services for its residents and businesses.

The increase means the authority’s portion of the annual Council Tax bill for a Band D property will be £151.78 a year or £2.92 a week for all the services it provides. The increase, which was approved by the council on 24 February 2021 is less than 10p extra per week.

The council takes 7p in every pound of the total Council Tax bill with the rest of the money going to Devon County Council, Devon and Cornwall Police, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service along with town and parish councils.

Councillor Jack Rowland, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for finance said:

“I appreciate that any news announcing an increase in costs may be difficult to accept and understand during the current situation caused by Covid-19. However, I hope the following explanation will help clarify the reason for the 3.41% (on average £5 a year) increase from April on the East Devon District Council’s element of your Council Tax.

As a direct result of Covid-19 EDDC has over the past year seen a fall in income and a rise in expenditure and we are legally obliged to present a balanced budget for 2021/22.

The mandatory service costs involving, for one example, the waste and recycling service, have risen due to increased volumes and we have decided to retain all the discretionary services as well.

The discretionary services cover sports centres, swimming pools, parks and public toilets. As an example the council contracts Leisure East Devon (LED) to operate the sports centres and swimming pools owned by the authority. In the current financial year up to the end of March we will have supported LED with an additional £1.3m to keep them afloat due to the restrictions and lockdowns we have all experienced, but EDDC have only received £280k back from Central Government to offset this extra financial support.

In addition we have decided not to increase the EDDC owned car park charges from April, but to achieve a balanced budget we are using £300k from the general reserves that will reduce that reserve to the lowest level. Obviously we cannot continue to use those reserves going into the future to support income and certain car park charges will eventually have to be increased from April 2022 as by then they will not have been increased for 11 years so have not kept pace with inflation and the VAT rises over that period.

I hope residents will understand the need for the EDDC percentage increase as part of the overall precept charge that the council collects on behalf of themselves, Devon County Council, Devon & Cornwall Police, Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Authority and the Town and Parish Councils.”