Thursday, November 26, 2009

Well that's 3% that we probably haven't got anyway

Prepare to tighten your belts (again) we're in the midst of a recession, probably heading into the second part of a double dip as soon as the part time Christmas employment ends. So, what good news are Labour spreading?

From the pages of the Grauniad.

Council tax bills should not go up by more than 3%, ministers told town halls today as they set out the cash local councils will get from Whitehall next year.
Barbara Follett, the local government minister, warned that the government was prepared to impose a cap on any councils that tried to impose "excessive" council tax rises in light of a 4% boost in central funding.
Follett said the £76.3bn settlement, the final tranche of a three-year deal with authorities, had been protected from recession-fuelled cuts, and should result in the lowest council tax bills in England for at least 16 years.
Follett demanded further efficiency measures to ensure each taxpayer's pound "works as hard as possible".
So, here you are, being told that councils should up their efficiency, that they shouldn't try and nobble us with excessive council tax rises and yet are still going to hit us with a probable 3% rise. Bearing in mind that a lot of us got no pay rise this year and that the UK average was only 1.5% (though strangely enough the public sector managed at least 2%+) they really are taking the mick. Much of what we spend in council tax goes on things we just don't need, translation services, various minority group co-ordinators, newsletters, expenses, gay pride parades. The Mayor of Doncaster showed the way forward he's trying to cut the council tax by 3% not increase it.
Until politicians get a grip on value for money instead of increasing taxation year in year out then they'll never have the respect they think they deserve. Yes I know it's not always their fault, yes I know the vast majority of local council funds come direct from Westminster, but it's still not good enough in the midst of a recession to be putting even more pressure on the public who can't or wont be getting a relevant increase in their funding.
Perhaps councillors ought to be putting aside political dogma and looking at real ways to save money, the Mayor of Doncaster leads the way, others particularly Conservatives should be watching, learning and copying his actions.

4 annotations:

James Higham said...

How are they going to get the 3% out of people?

Christine Melsom said...

Last year the leader of our council told us that he gets freedom to spend just 6% of his budget. The rest of it has the sticky finger of Government in it. This year the LGA reports that figure has gone down to 5%.

If the Government funded centrally all that they ordain, council tax payable would shrink considerably. Using figures from Government websites it is possible to show that council tax payable would be less that 20% of the present amount.

Of course the money would have to come from somewhere, but if centrally funded everyone would pay for local services we all use.

Two of the biggest problems with council tax as it stands, are the unfair distribution of Government grant and the banding system. A two bedroomed property can attract a banding any where between A and H depending on where you live in the country. Can that be fair? I don't think so. State pensions are the same whereever you live. There are low paid all over the country.
Please see http://www.isitfair.co.uk/Reports/Grey_Hairs_Rpts.html for funding suggestions

Edgar said...

I'm sorry, QM, but I just do not have a civil comment to make on any subject related to Local Authorities.

JuliaM said...

"How are they going to get the 3% out of people?"

Well, you know how overcrowded those jails are that they are forever banging on about in the 'Grauniad'?

Guess what. They'll find room.