Monday, January 02, 2006
No "Happy New Year" message from Council!
South Tyneside Council has become the first in the North-East to make preliminary plans for this year's Council Tax charge, and it looks as though the hard pressed tax payers will be punished further over the excesses of those officers and Councillors who allowed last years finances to run out of control.
Fears were raised last night that council-tax payers in the North could face inflation-busting rises as the first authority to publish budget plans proposed a 5% increase, and take an even bigger slice of our hard earned earnings.
The move by South Tyneside Council would push the annual bill for a Band D house up to GBP1,303.91, a rise of GBP62.09.
There are concerns the rise will be mirrored across the North-East, where councils have the worst government-funding increases in the country.
North-East Pensioners' Association secretary John Berry said: "People can't pay what they don't have and I have no doubt in my mind that there will be a lot of anger generated."
A consultation paper from South Tyneside Council asks local people if they want a council tax rise of 4%, 4.5% or 5%. The council says it must find an extra £17.677m next year just to continue services, because of inflation. Read more here.
Once again we face a situation that has probably been driven by the recommendations of Council officers, who are clearly not being managed or controlled by elected members. Those who were responsible for overspending last year's revenue continue to administer our funds without serious penalties being applied, and with little fear of the consequences (let's face it, some of them will pay their Council Taxes to another Borough.)
The offer of consultation with the residents of South Tyneside is once again an annual "sham", we are never offered the option of proposing our own preferred rise, the only options available are those given year after year, 4%, 4.5%, or 5% increases. I have suggested in the past that this Council, if it's elected ruling group had the stomach to provide the necessary leadership, could exist for a financial year with no increase in Council Tax at all. Sure, it would require some tough decisions, sure it would require drastic amendments to the medium term spending plans, sure it would mean some reductions in services, sure it would mean some service charge increases, sure it would mean a reduction in staff numbers (through natural wastage), sure it would mean our Councillors having to take their responsibilities a bit more seriously, but it would not mean the world had suddenly come to an end! The Borough would survive intact, the Council would continue to operate, and some officers and Councillors would learn some new skills in financial regulation!
There has to come a time when someone questions if there is a limit to how much Council Tax payers can afford, and this year we will all face massive increases in gas and electricity charges to start with. If I am to be involved in this consultation exercise, I will strike through all of the options offered to me and state emphatically ZERO INCREASE! I suggest you do the same too.
Born in 1956
Former Borough Councillor
View my Profile
blueyonder DOT co DOT uk
Got a story?
Got a tip off?
Got some scandal?
Let me know!
Search this site
How do I make a comment on this blog?
Curly's Corner Shop website
My Message Board
Shields photo gallery
RTG Message Board
Sunderland AFC Blog
December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007