Haworth parish councillors have agreed to significantly increase their precept for 2013-14 to cope with a major anticipated expansion of their council’s responsibilities.

A meeting of Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council last Thursday accepted proposals to raise the precept on average Band D properties from £13.20 to £20 a year – a rise of 51.5 per cent.

This would amount to an extra 12 pence per week for people living in this type of home.

Council chairman, Coun John Huxley, said: “We’ve never put our precept up by this amount before.”

Councillor Peter Hill, chairman of the finance and overview committee, emphasised most homes in the parish were actually in Bands A and B, so their occupants would not experience such a substantial actual increase.

He said the parish council had previously used its reserves to minimise precept rises, and would now have to pay for the cost of its own elections, which are expected to amount to between £6,000 and £8,000.

The council is also preparing to take over the management of more public services, and has been tasked with drawing up two detailed plans to determine future funding and building development strategies in the parish.

Coun Huxley added: “Election costs alone are huge – it’s going to be an expensive business.

“If we’re going to take over allotments, or bid for land or have the ability to buy property, we’re going to need the money.

“We’ve had a very, very low precept for a long time and have done good things with it. But now we have to stop being a ‘village talking shop’ and start being a ‘village doing shop’.”

Proposals for the increase were voted in unanimously by all 11 councillors present.

Coun Barry Thorne said: “I’d like to praise what Peter Hill has done. If we don’t do what he’s recommended, we might as well pack up and go home.”

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