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6 The Shuttle APRIL2014 NO INCREASE IN COUNCIL TAX Message from Councillor Andy Kay - Executive member for Resources You will see from your bill for 2014/15 that Council Tax charges for Blackburn with Darwen council are once again... not increasing. Council Tax in our borough remains one of the lowest in Lancashire even though we face some of the most severe funding reductions imposed by central government nationally. The decision to freeze Council Tax levels, rather than ask people to pay more to fund services, has been difficult as demand and expectations are increasing. The rise in the cost of living is affecting us all and the Council is determined to try not to further add to these pressures with an increase this year. We based our decision on the fact that people are already struggling with energy prices and increases in VAT. It wasn’t an easy choice but people are suffering enough. Cuts agreed last year will continue to be made in all service areas of the Council. These are made following agreed principles and after taking into account where possible what people have told us is important to them or what is needed the most. Six corporate priorities (see opposite) have been adopted to focus our policies. These again reflect the public’s concerns and priorities. Investment plans, which the Council has recognised it needs to push ahead with to ensure the borough has a strong long term future, include extensive town centre improvement and investment in services, particularly roads, to reduce the costs in the coming years. We know that further massive cuts to our funding are being imposed by central government and once again the Council is planning ahead to try and make sure we are in the best possible position to cope with the challenges these will bring. Working with people like you, helping you to help your community through the Your Call programme, is just one of the ways we can try to mi- nimise the impact of the cuts and still deliver high quality services and change lives for the better. Keeping residents updated on all aspects of the Council is important and we will continue to keep you regularly updated. Further information is available 24/7 on the Council’s website. The average Band D property will pay £1,486.46 in 2014/15. “WE CAN’T PUT MORE STRAIN ON THE POCKETS OF HARD PRESSED ED RESIDENTS AND FAMILIES” - Councillor Andy Kay Spending is influenced by the following priorities: 06 Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council 07 YOUR COUNCIL TAX BILL EXPLAINED Your Council Tax Bill 1 How and where you can contact the council. MR A N OTHER 1 ANY STREET BLACKBURN AB1 2CD MR A N OTHER 1 ANY STREET BLACKBURN AB1 2CD 12345678 XX.XX XX.XX XX.XX 2 Your Council Tax account reference - to help us deal with your enquiries more speedily, please use this reference if you contact us. 3 Bar Code - This allows you to use your Council Tax bill to pay cash at any Post Office or Paypoint outlet. 4 A breakdown of how your bill is made up. Some bills will include a separate charge if the household is served by a town or parish council. 5 Where applicable, the percentage change to the Council Tax compared to the previous financial year. 6 The code reference for the parish to which your property belongs. 7 The valuation band for your property. 9 The amount of Council Tax due for the period shown. 12345 XXX.XX X.XX -X.XX 10 Where applicable any discount and/or Council Tax Support (previously know as Council Tax Benefit) that you have been granted. These are deducted from the annual charge. 11 The total amount of Council Tax that is due on your account for 2014/15 and where applicable, any arrears of Council Tax still outstanding for previous years. 12 How and when your Council Tax is payable and any other important information. £X.XX X.XX X.XX What to do if you have difficulties paying your Council Tax If you have concerns about paying your Council Tax or what benefits you are entitled to contact the ‘Advice for All’ service. The service offers debt, welfare and housing advice all in one place at Blackburn Central Library. It provides free, independent and high quality advice. Advice For All Address: Blackburn Central Library, Town Hall Street, Blackburn Contact telephone numbers: 01254 266620 (Age UK) or 0844 245 1293 (CAB - 5p per minute from BT landline) www.blackburn.gov.uk/Pages/advice-for-all.aspx More details about the budget log on to www.blackburn.gov.uk

For more information about all Council Services see www.blackburn.gov.uk The Shuttle 7 NEW BOROUGH BUS SHELTER WORK CARRIED OUT BY LOCAL BUSINESSES Work on new bus shelters as part of an innovative scheme has begun, and work is being carried out by local companies. The work is being carried out as part of the Pennine Reach scheme, a £40million major transport project which is aimed at improving the local bus network. Manufactured by Euroshel at their manufacturing facility in Rawtenstall, a number of local suppliers are supporting the manufacturing process as part of the £1.1m work. These include WEC Lasers in Darwen and Almond and Mellor polishers, who assist with the preparation of the stainless steel, with local suppliers also used for fittings and other engineering processes. The first bus shelter was installed in Darwen recently, and more will be installed as work progresses. Cllr Maureen Bateson, Executive Member for “BUSINESSES WITHIN BOTH BLACKBURN WITH DARWEN, AND LANCASHIRE AS A WHOLE, BEING PART OF THIS PROJECT ENSURES THAT OUR COMMUNITIES TRULY SEE THE BENEFIT FROM THIS MAJOR INVESTMENT.” - Councillor Maureen Bateson Regeneration said: “Utilising local companies on key projects such as Pennine Reach is a great way to invest in local people. Businesses within both Blackburn with Darwen, and Lancashire as a whole, being part of this project ensures that our communities truly see the benefit from this major investment.” BUYING LOCAL Steve Hartley, Managing Director of WEC, said: “As a community focused company, we believe that effective local procurement is the way forward and it is great news that we have been identified as the laser cutting contractor for this new investment from Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council. “There are many local companies like ours that are part of this new scheme and the benefits for employment in the local community are undeniable.” PROUD Bill Cross, Managing Director of Euroshel said: “We are extremely proud that a Lancashire firm such as ours can contribute to the successful delivery of the Pennine Reach project.” One of the new bus shelters installed in Darwen Do It Online In order to help our Residents and businesses by improving and reducing the cost of the services that the Council provides, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council’s website can now deal with a whole range of transactions and services. The benefits are: • It’s free • It’s quick and easy to use • It’s available whenever you need it - 24/7 • By using the specially designed online forms you will be asked to provide all of the information that we need • Plus it means that we get the information through much faster, so we can process it faster • All from the comfort of your own home! If you don’t have access to the internet at work/home - self-service PCs are available for use at Blackburn Town Hall, Blackburn Central Library or Darwen Library. Council Tax Make a claim for a discount or exemption or tell us about a change affecting your Council Tax a www.blackburn.gov.uk/counciltax Business Rates Make a claim for a discount, exemption or relief or tell us about a change affecting your Business Rates bill at www.blackburn.gov.uk/businessrates Benefits Make a new claim or to tell us about any changes which could affect your Housing Benefit/Council Tax Support entitlement at www.blackburn.gov.uk/benefits Register now for your MYBwD Account You can now set up your own account on the Council website. By registering, you can keep track of all the forms you fill in and issues you have reported to the Council using this account. It is dead simple, if you do online shopping or banking – it is even easier than that. At the moment, the service is available for environmental services including dog fouling, litter, stray dogs, fly-tipping and broken streetlights. More forms are coming soon covering a wide range of other services. You can submit the forms at your own convenience 24/7. It is available for use by all residents and businesses in the borough. Register for your account at www.blackburn.gov.uk Get the App! We also have a Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council phone app called “Your Call”. You can now report problems to us whenever you like and wherever you are. The app is available free of charge from the Android Market, Blackberry App World and by searching for “Your Call” on the Apple App store on your device. The reporting facilities allow you to take photos and mark the location of any issues you wish to report from around the borough if you have location services enabled on your smart-phone. If you use the app outside of the borough it will also automatically notify the relevant local authority. You can use the app to report a wide range of issues including Anti-social behavior, Benefit fraud, complaints, dog fouling, fly tipping, leisure centre enquiries, litter issues, missed bin collections, pot holes and much, much more. There are a number of other features such as: a news & events feed giving you up to date information about what is happening in the borough, the local roadworks bulletin, jobs at the Council, refuse & recycling collection times and access to Blackburn with Darwen’s on-line library. SMS text messaging From April 14, 2014, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council is introducing a text messaging service to alert residents when they have missed a Council Tax payment. If we have your mobile telephone number and you miss a Council Tax payment you may receive a text message to remind you. Each month we have to issue reminder notices to a number of residents who, for a variety of reasons, have not paid the latest instalment of their council tax. Issuing reminder notices costs a lot of money in terms of printing and postage, so to help to reduce this cost the Council is looking at other ways it can contact residents effectively, and hopefully prevent the need for formal recovery notices being issued. Check out the Your Call mobile app - Report a wide range of issues at any time of the day – available on Google Apps, iTunes and Blackberry World now. More details about the budget log on to www.blackburn.gov.uk

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