Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Well there's a surprise

No, not that the murderous gunman in Toulouse happens to be Mohammed Merah, a Muslim of Algerian origin and supporter of Al Quaeda who happens to think butchering kids is the answer to the Palestinian problem.
No it's the fact that local councils have refused a grant to help them not put up their rates...
New figures show that one in nine local authorities in England are defying ministers and refusing to freeze council tax by pushing though increases. A small number of the rises are more than inflation.
Prime Minister David Cameron had pledged £1billion to help English town halls freeze the levy, but many of the councils have said they would still face a shortfall.
Official National Statistics released by the Department for Communities and Local Government shows that 10 per cent of councils declined the offer. The increases go through from next month
In all, 37 councils out of 353 in England, comprising over two million housholds, opted to increase the tax by up 3.5 per cent, the maximum allowed before triggering a referendum.
Big unitary authorities raising council tax by 3.5 per cent include Redcar and Cleveland, Leicester, Darlington and Stoke-on-Trent. 
 Overall the official statistics showed the average council tax bill for a band D property set by local authorities in England will be an average of £1,444 – £4 up on last year. 
 Well there's no surprise that they are mostly Labour, though not all, nor is it a surprise that they are all prepared to raise council tax whilst cutting frontline services. Darlington for one has doubled its council tax robbery payments in the last 13 years and I rather doubt the people there have seen any great difference in the way things have been run, save possibly in the negative sense.
Most of the council tax will go to cover the cost of wages and pensions, those who don't pay council tax and unnecessary services such as translation and minority support. Very little will be channelled into emptying the bins and keeping the streets lit and potholes filled, which judging by comments when this sort of thing arises is what most people want.
Councils over the years for reasons ideological and greedy have taken upon themselves to provide services which are neither wanted or needed, often in the name of equality, sometimes diversity but more often than not because they see it as a way to raise more funds for the town twinning and fact finding holidays missions.
The surprise? Well sadly it's the fact that there is no surprise, councils have a tendency to be greedy and dogmatic, not all of them by any means, but certainly enough of them to give the few that don't a bad name.

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