Finance

Your Council Tax bill

We will all be getting the bill for Council Tax within the next day or two.

We tell you how much more you will be paying this year and where your money goes.

The table below shows the increase in the precept charged by each authority and the the total for a Band D property.

Increase by precepting authority for Band D.

As in previous years Kent County Council has been allowed to add an additional sum off 2% of their precept for Adult Social Care.

The next table shows how this affects the annual and monthly payments for all properties.

Change in Council Tax for all property bands in unparished area.

Note: Ashford Borough Council normally debits one payment of an odd amount then nine rounded payments. The table shows the average.

We exclusively show how much you pay for the services of all of the precepting authorities.

Approximate amount paid for services from Band D Property Council Tax.

References:
Kent County Council
www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council/strategies-and-policies/corporate-policies/budget-book
Ashford Borough Council
www.ashford.gov.uk/benefits-and-council-tax/council-tax/council-tax-information/
Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority
www.kent.fire-uk.org/about-us/financial-information/council-tax/council-tax-2019-20/
Kent Police and Crime Commissioner
www.kent-pcc.gov.uk/what-we-do/setting-the-kent-police-budget/

HM Revenue and Customs Alert

Action Fraud has experienced an increase in the reporting of malicious calls, voicemails, text messages or emails to members of the public purporting to be from HMRC.

The fraudsters state that as a result of their non-payment of tax or other duty, the victim is liable to prosecution or other legal proceedings such as repossession of belongings to settle the balance but can avoid this by arranging for payment to be made immediately by method such as bank transfer or by iTunes gift cards.

If the victim is hesitant or refuses to comply, the suspect makes a threat such as immediate arrest, bailiffs or in cases where the victim appears to be of overseas origin; deportation.

Often, the period for which the tax is allegedly due is distant enough to guarantee the victim will have little, if any, paperwork or ability to verify the claims. Once the money is paid the suspects sever all contact.

It is vital that the public exercise caution when receiving messages or telephone calls of this nature.

What you need to do
Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information. Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and contact details), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Instead, contact the company directly using trusted methods such as a known email address or phone number.

Listen to your instincts. If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. No genuine organisation will ask you to pay taxes, bills or fees using iTunes Gift Cards, or any other type of voucher.

Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision. Under no circumstances would a genuine bank or some other trusted organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot.

Report Phishing attempts. If you receive a call, text or email of this nature and have not lost money, report this as a phishing attempt to Action Fraud.

Action Fraud 7 January 2019

KCC Budget Consultation

Budget Consultation 2019-20

Kent County Council

Opens:11 October 2018
Closes: 21 November 2018

Kent County Council (KCC) provides a huge range of essential services to the people of Kent and when times are tough it is more important than ever to spend money wisely. We need to make some big decisions and would value your views before setting next year’s council budget (April 2019 to March 2020).

How KCC are funded£967m planned spend

Funding for the KCC budget comes from many sources in addition to council tax, including grants from central government. About a third of the council’s budget is made up of money we receive from council tax. Each year we decide how much we can spend on services for Kent residents and businesses for the next financial year, compared to how much funding we’re likely to get from the government and local taxation.
www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council/finance-and-budget/how-we-are-funded

KCC prioritises spending on services that:

  • make sure children and young people get the best start in life
  • help communities feel the benefits of economic growth by being in work, healthy and enjoying a good quality of life
  • help older and vulnerable residents to be safe and supported with choices to live independently.

These are KCCs strategic priorities. The Strategic Statement Annual Report details how every pound spent in Kent is used to deliver better outcomes for Kent’s residents, communities and businesses.
www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council/strategies-and-policies/corporate-policies/increasing-opportunities-improving-outcomes

The Big Challenge

£640m savings over 8 yearsSome councils are in severe financial difficulty and are now being forced to make some tough decisions, including reducing services to a minimum. KCC is not one of these authorities.

In recent years the amount of money available to local councils from the government has decreased while demand and cost for council services has increased. We expect this trend to continue in the future.

Since 2010, we have made savings of £640 million to offset these challenges. These savings have focussed on the transformation of services, which means delivering better outcomes at lower cost and working in more efficient ways. This has allowed us to continue to protect and invest in front line services.

However, there is also increased pressure on spending because of the rising demand for services, inflation and the living wage. This means that despite the £640 million savings KCC have already made since 2010, they still have a considerable shortfall to find now (around £94 million in 2019-20) and in years to come.

You can find out more about the council’s finance and budget (www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council/finance-and-budget), including what they spend their money on (www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council/finance-and-budget/spending) and council tax (www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council/finance-and-budget/council-tax).

What do you think?

We’d like to hear your views on:

  • Council Tax – is a modest rise acceptable if it helps to sustain the services that you value most?
  • The future of KCC services – are they focussing on the right priorities or have we got some things wrong?
  • How can KCC improve their communication with you – so that you are aware of the challenges they face now and in the future?

Please read the budget consultation document before completing the online questionnaire.
https://consultations.kent.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/965314/41994469.1/DOCX/-/Budget_Consultation_Information_Document.docx

The consultation will close on 21 November 2018.

Complete the online questionnaire
https://consultations.kent.gov.uk/consult.ti/DraftBudgetStrategy201920/answerQuestionnaire?qid=5376387

Consultation documents

For more details on the UK’s public finances and the terms used to describe them see the Office for Budget Responsibility’s Brief Guide to Public Finances (http://obr.uk/forecasts-in-depth/brief-guides-and-explainers/public-finances).

Kent County Council  11 October 2018
www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council/finance-and-budget/our-budget

Beware of bogus SSAFA collectors

Please be aware that there are bogus collectors purporting to be from SSAFA, they are operating on a door to door basis in Kent.

  • SSAFA does not conduct door to door collections.
  • All SSAFA collections are conducted at organised events, never door to door.
  • All SSAFA volunteers carry photographic Identity Cards.

These bogus collectors are operating in the Dover and Folkstone area and there have been further reports of bogus caller activity from other areas of Kent.

In the event that these bogus operators call on you, this is the action you should take.

  • Politely decline to contribute whatever is requested.
  • If you feel afraid or threatened by a doorstep caller, phone 999. For non-urgent calls, phone Kent Police 101.
  • If someone knocks on your door claiming to work for SSAFA, report it to SSAFA directly on 01622 792363.

NEVER agree to work being done by or paying cash to someone you have just met on your doorstep.

Report it

If you have you fallen victim to a doorstep criminal? Report it to KCC.

For advice and to report issues to KCC Trading Standards contact the Citizens Advice consumer service

Give safely to SSAFA

You can give to SSAFA

  • online at https://www.ssafa.org.uk/give
  • by telephone: 020 7463 9225
  • by post: send a cheque made payable to SSAFA toSSAFA
    The Armed Forces Charity
    4 Dunstan’s Hill
    London EC3R 8AD

SSAFA  16 July 2018

Beware of internet banking scams

Kent County Council (KCC) have received reports of fraudsters tricking people into giving them access to their internet banking.

The criminals pose as employees from broadband providers and claim that someone has hacked into their account, the user is then tricked into giving access to their computer and told to log into their internet banking.

So far, Police have identified 45 victims with a combined loss of £128,000.

A current trend is for victims to be sent an automated message stating that their router has been compromised. Please do not respond to this message but instead contact your broadband provider directly for advice.

Never allow a caller access to your computer. An internet provider will never ask for your bank details.

NEWSFLASH: Ashford man loses £21,000 to internet banking scam.
www.kentonline.co.uk/ashford/news/man-conned-out-of-21k-in-cyber-scam-186590/

For more information on how to keep you and your family safe from scams, visit the KCC Public Protection website.
www.kent.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/care-and-support/staying-safe/scams/types-of-scam

Report it

For advice and to report issues to KCC Trading Standards contact

Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06
Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

Online: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/reporting-a-scam/

Kent County Council 20 July 2018
https://mailchi.mp/b5521017efa9/beware-of-internet-banking-scams?e=5d620a3416
(KCC distribute Consumer Alerts via Mailchimp)

Fraud Alert for TSB Customers

Action Fraud have issued two fraud alerts regarding customers of TSB.

The first warns of an increased risk of phishing attacks following the problems recently experienced by TSB.

The second warns of an increase in the number of “port out” fraud cases reported by TSB customers. Fraudsters are number porting a victim’s telephone number to a SIM card under their control and then using the number to access the victim’s bank accounts.

Protect Yourself

Whilst the advice given by Action Fraud is particularly relevant to TSB customers at this time, it should be followed by everybody:

  • Don’t assume an email or text is authentic:

    Always question uninvited approaches in case it’s a scam. Phone numbers and email addresses can be spoofed, so always contact the company directly via a known email or phone number (such as the one on the back of your bank card).

  • Clicking on links/files

    Don’t be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected text or email. Remember, a genuine bank will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your full PIN or password.

  • If you have received a suspicious TSB email,

    please do not respond to it, report it to Action Fraud www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_phishing and also forward it to emailscams@tsb.co.uk

  • PAC Code notifications

    If you receive an unsolicited notification about a PAC Code request, contact your network provider immediately to terminate the request. Also notify your bank about your phone number being compromised.

  • Requests to move money:

    A genuine bank or organisation will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, full password or to move money to another account.

  • Every Report Matters.

    If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, report it to us online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

  • Visit Take Five and Cyber Aware

    for more information about how to protect yourself online.
    https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/
    https://www.cyberaware.gov.uk/

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FIFA 2018 World Cup Alert

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will take place from 14th June – 15th July 2018. The worldwide demand for match tickets, flight tickets, and somewhere to stay throughout the competition is expected to be significant. Those planning to travel should exercise caution when considering the purchase of tickets or accommodation because the event is highly likely to be targeted by fraudsters looking to take advantage of unsuspecting fans.

Fraudsters will likely be posing as:

  • Official World Cup ticket vendors or private individuals attempting to sell on a match ticket via online marketplace.
  • A fraudulent website or operator offering non-existent flights or other transport to host cities.
  • An accommodation booking service, hotel or operator, offering seemingly convenient accommodation in one of the host cities for the duration of the game.
  • Lottery or competition organisers claiming that you’ve won a prize or cash related to the tournament.

Action Fraud received over six hundred reports and intelligence submissions in relation to the previous World Cup so it’s vital that football fans exercise caution when considering a purchase or making a transaction.

Protect yourself:

  • Listen to your instincts: If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. Fraudsters will use the promise of steep discounts to lure you into handing over your money or revealing personal/financial details.
  • Clicking on links/files: Don’t be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details, and never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
  • Visit the Action Fraud website and take a look at their Ticket Fraud, Holiday Fraud and Lottery Fraud advice pages before making any decisions or bookings.
  • For useful advice and information on the World Cup please visit the Government Guidance Pages: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/be-on-the-ball-world-cup-2018

Visit Take Five (takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/advice/) and Cyber Aware (cyberaware.gov.uk) for more information about how to protect yourself online.

Action Fraud  18 April 2018
www.actionfraud.police.uk/news/action-fraud-warns-football-fans-ahead-of-2018-world-cup-Apr18

Doorstep criminal alerts

Kent County Council have issued two alerts of fraudulent activity:

Bogus Police and Trading Standards Officers

Kent Trading Standards and Kent Police have received reports of criminals contacting residents by phone or in person claiming to be a Police or Trading Standards Officer. They will often refer to some previous poor work that might have been carried out and falsely claim the people involved have been arrested or are already in court.They insist the resident pays money which will be reimbursed after the court hearing.

The Police, Trading Standards, or the Court, would never ask for money – under any circumstances.

This type of fraudulent activity is on the rise so please report calls or visits to Kent Police. Residents that have previously been victims of doorstep crime are particularly at risk so please warn neighbours, friends and/or relatives if you think they may be targeted.

Report to Kent Police on 101 or at your local Police station.

Report it to Kent Police online
www.kent.police.uk/services/report-online/kent-police-online-reporting/

Criminals taking advantage of the bad weather

Doorstep criminals will take advantage of the current bad weather. Anyone calling at your home offering to do work on your roof, guttering, driveway, or inside your property, should be treated with caution.

Accepting work from a doorstep criminal can result in paying much more than you intended for very poor, unnecessary and sometimes dangerous work.

If you require work done to your home get at least three quotes and never give a doorstep caller cash.

For a list of Kent County Council approved traders

Please look out for neighbours and report any suspicious doorstep criminals to us.

Report it

www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/report-to-trading-standards/

For advice and to report issues to KCC Trading Standards contact
Citizens Advice consumer service
www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/ or

phone 03454 04 05 06
Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

Kent County Council Public Protection  01 March 2018

KMFRA announces Council Tax increase

The Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority (KMFRA) met on 13 February and agreed the Council Tax for the Authority for 2018/19.

The agreed that the KMFRA element of Council Tax should be increased by 2.95% which is an annual increase 4p a week (£2.16 a year) for a household in a Band D property. This is higher than that originally announced and follows the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government’s announcement of an increase in the amount by which authorities could increase their precept without a referendum.

We show the total Council Tax for a Band D property in the unparished areas of Ashford.

The table shows the annual Council Tax for a Band D property

Authority 17/18 % Rise £ Rise 18/19
Kent County Council 1,178.82 4.99% 58.82 1237.64
Ashford Borough Council 154.00 2.28% 3.50 157.50
Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority 73.35 2.95% 2.16 75.51
Kent Police and Crime Commissioner 157.15 7.64% 12.00 169.15
Total 1563.32  4.89% 76.48 1639.80