Covid-19: Cornwall parish council offers tax break to help residents

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image captionCubert Parish Council said some residents had become "a bit concerned" and bought more cemetery plots, allowing the council to waive tax charges for a year

A parish council in Cornwall will give residents a tax holiday to help them during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cubert Parish Council said "strange windfalls" over the last year, including an increase in cemetery plot purchases, meant it could afford to waive the charges from April.

Town and parish councils in Cornwall can add a charge to council tax bills to pay for local services they provide.

The council said it was also able to pay as some plans had been put on hold.

Cubert Parish is located five miles west of Newquay on the north coast of Cornwall and has a population of around 1,200 residents.

The average increase in charges for town and parish councils in Cornwall for the 2021/22 tax year is 3.4% - for a band D property the total average charge in the county is £138, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Last year residents in Cubert parish, band D property residents were charged £51, which will drop to nothing in April.

'Reserves and savings'

In the minutes of the November meeting when the council set its budget, the decision was made unanimously by councillors "to assist parishioners at this difficult time".

Alan Percy, chairman of Cubert Parish Council, explained the parish could afford the tax holiday because it had been unable to "carry out some of the duties" planned.

He said: "We were hoping to put in a cycle track and upgrade our toilets in the coming year, but the truth is with Covid it is difficult to get builder in to do the work or give a quote."

Mr Percy added the pandemic had "brought us some strange windfalls".

"We have made some gains, if you like, because some people have become a bit concerned and they have bought more than the usual amount of cemetery plots for instance.

"We have got some treasure chest, some reserves and some savings because of Covid and savings anyway because of the financial work so we can cover it," he explained.

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