Council Taxes & Precepts: Clarion Call

Often, the best form of defence is to get one’s retaliation in first.
I am aware of at least one council discussing raising their Council Tax impositions without any mention of the needs of their electorate or the effect of the rises upon their residents
We need to tell local councillors at Parish, District and County levels telling them that as residents and tax payers we do not wish to see any increase in the council taxes levied upon our households.
We know that many businesses have suffered in the past nine months, we know that people have been furloughed and are on reduced incomes, we also know that many families relying on casual work whether in the hospitality sector or otherwise have seen their personal finances devastated.
Budget decisions are due next month, but before then we need to tell our Councillors that any increase in the Council Tax this year is unacceptable.
It’s time Councils reviewed their expenditures into three categories: Luxurious, Nice to have and Need to have. The last category getting the first bite of the monies.
For example, the last time I looked, Suffolk had seventeen officers and senior staff responsible for internal and external communications. I have excluded from this number those persons concerned with Customer Services, Web and Digital Transformation. Those seventeen could not all be performing essential tasks relating to the proper stewardship of our monies.
Every council and organisation has its own little pockets of waste and extravagance. Even after years of austerity they can still be rooted out and the monies returned to the tax payer.
A version of this blog was published in the EADT on 26th December 2020

Taxing Councils

Yesterday’s Daily Telegraph contained an interesting piece on the effect of the cuts to Council funding. The newspaper states that “It is a sign of how bloated local government had become that councils have shed 230,000 jobs without hitting front-line services”. Of course front line services have been hit but not in ways which significantly impinge on the services people receive. Standards have been eased but not sufficiently to cause complaints. At the yesterday evening’s Town Council meeting I was asked if the Babergh District Council staff were having to apply for their own jobs. I weaselled out of by saying that whilst I didn’t have any details it would follow that as we amalgamated services we should be able to do so with a lesser number of staff. Consequently people were not applying for their own jobs but for new jobs under the new regime. As night follows day there would be winners and losers. The keys to success were that the right people were chosen for the new posts– not necessarily those who could do the talk but those able to walk the walk. The other issue was that people who no longer had a job were treated fairly to ease the transition to the next phase of their lives – (e.g. statutory redundancy payments are enhanced by 50%). Times change and there is no iron rice bowl anywhere any more. The full piece can be found on