|"I'm really sorry, but I need to put my hand in your pocket, again!"|
Whilst most of Britain will enjoy a council tax freeze from April, we here in Tameside are once again being ‘shafted’ by Kieran Quinn and his gang after he announced that in two months our bills will go up by a cynical 1.9%! - Significantly just a fraction below the 2% needed to avoid a local referendum on the decision!
Any authority proposing an excessive increase in council tax must hold a local referendum and obtain a ‘yes’ vote before implementing the increase.
Now its being put to us that ‘this is only a small increase’ but let’s not forget that the council saw fit to further increase the burden on households by 1.9% last year too! And despite the fact that the council claimed that ‘they didn't benefit from that increase’ it still made a dent in the pockets of hard pressed families.
This latest increase now means that the council have circumvented; either by good luck or design, the need to call a local referendum to push this 3.8% increase, ostensibly spread over two years, through. Which in case of an E Band house represents an increase of £98.80 per annum. - Not an insignificant amount!
Just to remind you, the Government guidelines state that: For the 2014-15 financial year, the ‘principles of excessiveness’ stated that all local authorities, Police and Crime Commissioners and fire and rescue authorities could not raise council tax by more than 2% without a referendum.
Of course with many other Local Authorities taking up the Governments offer of a significant grant, the problem persists that our Labour-controlled Tameside Authority has consistently refused to take up the government’s offer of a nil increase council tax; preferring instead to put a further squeeze on constituents and casting the entire blame on their political opponents.
It’s all part of a game! Unfortunately, we are stuck in the middle of it.
Unlike with the utilities companies who raise their tariffs, we can, and do, switch supplier. Unfortunately, with ‘council tax’ we cannot pay to another authority, but we can vote them out!
If this council would stop playing political football at every opportunity and start to really cut out the waste and nonsense and communicate better than merely issuing diktats, who knows, people might not mind paying a little more tax to have decent services – because let’s face it, too many of the council cuts have resulted in critical things being stopped.
My rubbish isn't collected often enough, so the bins in our area regularly overflow, which results in constant fly-tipping which takes several days to clear up. The pavements are broken and we currently have more pot holes than were encountered on the Western front!
Next time you see a councillor, ask them how it is that in other parts of the country, some Local Authorities are even reducing their Council Tax bills, - probably because they’re not constantly wasting their budgets on pointless schemes like putting sump splitting mountainous speed humps, and the introduction of more 20mph zones for minor roads throughout the borough, or relying on volunteers.