CONFUSED you will be. Spectator thought it might be worth having a look at council tax to enlighten readers about the latest potential position as it’s that time of year when councils are looking at budgets and what they need or want for next year.

Northallerton town council this week supported the idea of a six per cent increase on their precept which is an average for Band D properties of just over £5 more. Currently residents pay £85.37. But that’s only the part of the council tax that goes to the town council, on top of that there is North Yorkshire county council’s portion, £1,270, plus £140 for adult social care. Then there is the police precept of £270, Fire and Rescue £74.17 and in Hambleton District it’s a further £114. In neighbouring Richmondshire it’s £225.

Each parish or town such as Northallerton or Bedale, where it is £54.15 this year, then has it’s own amount to add to the bill. Obviously greater minds than Spectator’s has considered this but it really seems totally bizarre. Northallerton Town Council did point out they haven’t increased the precept for ten years and the aim is to use the extra money to plough into public toilets.

The value for money element is a huge conundrum, and very much down to the individual and whether or not they think the services they get are comparable with how much they have to fork out. The one leveller is that you have absolutely no choice you have to pay council tax or face the courts. The argument obviously is if people don’t like it they can always vote the councillors out at the next election.

Surely one of the main concerns is why does it have to be so complicated. In the past county council, social care, fire and police was all rolled into one. The question of when and how increases should be made is a matter of massive debate and concern, and has been for years. From spectator's point of view we can only pose the questions that many people seem to be asking.