Party Point – March 2013

John Clark writes…

First published: March 2013 – Gazette & Herald

I believe in local government. Decisions on the bins, bowls or building houses should not be made in Westminster. To make this work local people have to watch what is going on and VOTE. If we don’t vote ‘they’ may give in to temptation.

The temptation is to accept the bribes and handouts. Government grants and Council Tax are the two main sources of income for local government. Central government obviously controls the grant. Over the last three years the ConDem government has moved to control the level of Council Tax.

For several years officers’ recommendations on RDC have moved the council in the direction of removing waste. The luxury limo has gone and the Chair’s allowance has been reduced. At long last all parties have gone with these sensible savings. The result is that the Council Tax has been held down.

Of course efficiency can produce more for less. Liberals believe we have crossed a line in local government. We have moved from efficiencies and savings into cuts and increased charges. Councillors on behalf of the electorate are elected to decide the level of services and charges. The ConDem government is bribing local councils to cut services and increase charges. Just like with all bribes, once the first one is accepted, all future ones are less and the payback is more.

  • For 2011/12, the bribe was equivalent to 2.5% Council Tax and payable for all future years. In exchange the Council had to have a 0% increase in Council Tax.
  • In 2012/13, the bribe was 2.5% Council Tax but not payable in future years. In exchange the Council had to have 0% increase in Council Tax.
  • In 2013/14 (this year) the bribe is equivalent to 1% Council Tax and payable again next year (2014/15) at 1% only. In exchange the Council had to have 0% increase in Council Tax.

North Yorkshire Tories have got themselves into a real tangle. It all seemed so nice; they could claim to be keeping the Council Tax down while spending money from central government. There were no concerns when Liberals pointed out that the people of North Yorkshire contribute to the government money. Accepting the bribe has produced a hole in North Yorkshire’s budget. The Tories were quite happy to take the bribe, keep the Council Tax at 0% increase and fiddle the budget later.

So the timetable is like this:

In March/April zero Council Tax increase – good news.

This to be followed in May with the County Council elections – you choose.

In June, after the elections, the bad news – a special budget with a ‘Cut in services and increase in charges’.

Central government was in favour of burning household waste. It bribed NYCC with £65million towards an incinerator. Central government later bribed NYCC to keep the Council Tax down. All the councillors except the Liberals accepted this bribe. The government has now withdrawn the incinerator bribe – howls of foul from North Yorkshire Tories. Where else did they expect the government to get the money for the Council Tax bribe?

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