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Council Tax Freeze?

June 5, 2009 by  

David Cameron says in a leaflet, specifically and personally addressed to you and popped through your door during these elections, that “We’ve got plans to help people through this recession – like a council tax freeze.”

See Leaflet here http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/1063718/davidcameron.pdf

In this case the Conservative Party can take this action right now and before a General Election because it is in majority control of many local councils,  all County Councils and so they can put in a local council tax freeze just as David Cameron has personally promised you.

But will they do it?

I think that the Conservatives in control of Essex County Council and Rochford District Council will have to run hard to explain convincingly enough that council tax could not be frozen if we continue to remind them of David Cameron’s promises because it is going to be really hard to argue on the doorstep that a council tax freeze could not be put in before the next set of promises at the general election or next local elections in May 2010.

It’s certainly a vote winner for whichever of the two major parties actually delivers on a zero council tax increase. All Labour needs to do is maintain the Grant to Local Authorities at the present level and then they can argue that any increase is down to local councillors, mostly Conservative ones across the country and certainly in our area.

It would be really daft if Labour cut the money provided to local authorities, wouldn’t it?

Unless the unthinkable happens…………..David Cameron goes back on his word to you because he admits to the country that he made a big mistake? Didn’t mean to do it now when it really matters?  Just a bit of spin perhaps?

Or perhaps he meant something else and all is not what it seems in the simple language that he used to get your vote !!

So what would it mean for residents of Rochford if it really meant that a council tax freeze can start right now?

The first year for decades that the Council Tax doesn’t just go up by many percentage points regardless of what you think and a freeze providing real respite for families, young and old, who are under such financial pressure.

But will they really want to do this? Well it shouldn’t be too difficult anyway because there is no inflation rise required because the RPI is negative.

But any planned improvements in services would have to be shelved because we, the residents, can’t afford it this year, next year or the year after.

Councils will have to work harder to make savings on services that still need to be streamlined,  make voluntary reductions in the inflated cabinet councillor allowances and expenses and no employee salaries rises, if they want to spend more on improvements.

Work would  need to be done between now and February on re-working the accounts and making any necessary savings. 

Will political parties say just about anything to get your vote? Yes, because they think that you will forget and there is always a explanation why they could not do it. Blaming the current Government perhaps? Not this time surely?  This is something that can be delivered.

This is a great opportunity for a political party to keep a simple promise and to prove that me and other cynics are wrong.

We must keep reminding them of what David Cameron has promised us.

But I fear that in the weasel words of politics that he will have an incomprehensible reason as to why his promise means nothing in practice.

Just empty promises.  But please keep voting for us !!

Comments

Comments

One Response to “Council Tax Freeze?”
  1. John Mason says:

    When I was first elected a councillor, way back in the early 80’s as a Parish Councillor in Hockley (where I lived at that time) I was elected as a ratepayer’s councillor. One of the big issues was to make sure that ratepayers got value for money. Then “rates” were abolished by Margaret Thatcher and replaced by the ill fated “poll tax” which gave rise to civil unrest and riots. The direct connection to ratepayers and property ownership was almost lost in local representation until “ratepayers associations” became “residents associations”.

    Council Tax is now how residents finance their local councils and it is argued that Council Tax has doubled since 1997. Some of this is the cumulative effect of inflation, which although modest, year on year it adds up very quickly. And there certainly have been many cases where, because we the residents could afford them, there have been real improvements in services. But at the same time salaries for those employed in local government have increased a great deal. We have all seen the “football” type salaries paid to some local authority officers.

    What I want to see in this recession is no increase in Council Tax, whilst inflation is negative and we, the residents, cannot afford to pay for improvements to services, increased employee salaries, and the current level of cabinet councillor allowances and expenses.

    To his credit David Cameron says in leaflets you received in the last few days that he has plans for no increases in council tax but I am far from convinced that he ever intends to deliver this until he is elected Prime Minister. That would be too late. It can be done now by Conservative controlled councils because inflation is not a problem and improvements can either be shelved or paid for by savings.

    Returning to my roots as a ratepayers councillor I am going to campaign this year as an independent councillor to see no increase in Council tax planned for this year, next year and the year after in order that the financial position of residents is recognised in a positive way.

    It remains to be seen if David Cameron meant what he said but it still could be done by our local councillors. They might just need to be pushed a bit.

    If you support this campaign please write to The Leader of Rochford District Council, Terry Cutmore at the Council Offices, South Street, Rochford, SS4 1BW.

    AND

    The Leader of Essex County Council, Lord Hanningfield, Essex County Council, County Hall, Market Road,Chelmsford, CM1 1QH

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