Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Conservative council puts up tax bill by over 400 per cent

The memo about Britain having overspent on its credit card has clearly not reached Desborough in Northamptonshire.

There the Conservative-run town council has voted to increase its portion of the council tax bill by more than 400 per cent.

Defending the decision, the council's chairman Cllr Mike Tebbutt told the Northamptonshire Telegraph:
"I've had a few complaints passed on to me by the council clerk and they have all been responded to explaining our intentions. 
"The rise is absolutely justified. We are going to provide many of the things that people have wanted to see happen in Desborough. 
"From information passed to the electorate we are committed to a number of things, including improving the town centre, sports facilities and provision of a new skate park."
I have a certain sympathy for this decision. If ever a town gave the visitor the impression that it needs some money spent on it, that town is Desborough.

And this is how local democracy is supposed to work. If Tory councillors have misjudged the mood in the town then the people of Desborough are free to vote them out at the next election.

But Council Tax rates are now so controlled from the centre that it is only town councils that can take radical action like this.

Not everyone agrees with the council's decision.

Step forward Mick Scrimshaw of Kettering Labour Party:
No other council would even be allowed to do this but as Town councils do not have to abide by the same rules as other councils and they were able to push this through without a referendum and without proper consultation with their electorate. 
In my opinion it shows a complete disregard for democracy and also shows a spectacular lack of competence and imagination. I have n doubt they want to spend this extra money on worthwhile things (although I don’t know) but simply to raise council taxes in this way without looking at other ways of raising finance is simplistic and crass.
So welcome to the topsy-turvy world of Desborough Town Council where the Conservatives hugely increase taxes to pay for better services and Labour demands continued austerity.

2 comments:

Derek said...

I don't think anyone demanded continued austerity but better consultation. Perhaps an increase in council tax is justified but 400%?

Toni Eldridge said...

Several foi requests have been submitted and to date have not been given a response. The skate park has not been mentioned specifically in the budget even though £20,000 has been specifically allocatedto replace one that the borough council demolished last year, as it is an insufficient amount of itself to get the project off the ground. Instead the budget proposals included substantial refurbishment of offices for a part time clerk when other council staff are required to desk share and work at home ar their own expense. This just shows how Desborough Town Council are so out of touch