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Posts Tagged ‘Council taxes

A plea for fairer Council Taxes

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Coalition needs to take action

Yes, I know the World Cup is on and most minds are on England’s underwhelming performance against the USA, not to mention Robert Green’s howler, and last night in South Shields Snooker Centre was probably noisier than any bar in Rustenburg, but here is something else to exercise our minds with as local Labour councillors in South Tyneside have already started moaning and whinnying about the government’s tightening of the financial belt, despite the fact that Alistair Darling, the former Labour Chancellor, had heralded “spending cuts more severe than the Thatcher years” had Labour won.

So please take the time to read this guest post from Christine Melsome, writing on behalf of Is it Fair who campaign for the reform of Council Tax.

Council Tax must be made fairer.

“Those in areas of high property values have no choice but to pay perhaps half as much again or maybe even double that paid in cheaper areas merely to get a roof over their heads. I say again, they have no choice if they want to stay in the area in which they work and where their families and friends live. They commit a far greater proportion of their income to servicing hefty mortgages. When the property is finally theirs, of course it is a valuable asset, but they have paid dearly for it. We have to remember that it is only an asset when sold – until then the value means little, one has to live somewhere. Why are they punished, then, by absurdly high council tax, both throughout their mortgage years and afterwards, totally out of proportion to that paid by those in similar properties elsewhere?

In his speech to the House of Commons on 21 March 1991 prior to the introduction of Council Tax in April 1993, Michael Heseltine said, “…the system should ensure that regional variations in property values do not lead to disproportionate bills in high price areas.” Something has plainly gone badly wrong. What is the new government going to do to put this matter right?

Perhaps the place to start would be Formula Grant?

The grant system is due for a make-over. A manipulative Government has used this as a tool to tighten the screw on councils not flying their flag. Many areas of the country have been starved of funding while others are awash with cash. The system must be made fairer, and the sooner the better.

There is little to indicate that incomes, especially for pensioners, vary much across the country. Here is one example (and there are many). It may surprise you to know that the median income for Sunderland and for Eastbourne is about the same, but the average council tax per dwelling in Eastbourne is hundreds of pounds more.”

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Written by curly

June 13, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Labour’s new cabinet

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South Tyneside leadership considering options

It will soon be time for the leadership of the Labour Party in South Tyneside to announce the formation/membership of it’s cabinet for the new municipal year, and with Hebburn Cllr. Eddie McAtominey’s suspension from the Labour Party expiring soon it will be interesting to find out if there is a chair at the table waiting for him, as a former cabinet member he has the experience that his colleagues may be missing.

Others who perhaps may be being considered include Cllr. Jim Perry, Cllr. John McCabe, and Cllr. Linda Waggott.

The biggest trouble is with the current cabinet, and the next, not a single one of them has any experience at all in making radical cuts to budgets and no experience at all in reducing council tax rates! Regardless of which party wins the next general election it is now generally accepted that massive cuts in public expenditure will be a fact of life as they grapple with a huge budget deficit, local government will not escape this reality. The Labour leadership on South Tyneside Council should be thinking NOW of how they will manage the expectations of central government and how they can reduce the burdens on local council tax payers rather than continuing offering choices of ever increasing taxation!

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Written by curly

January 17, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Council tax freeze should be minimum aim

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Why should South Tyneside settle for less?

If Hammersmith and Fulham’s Conservative controlled council can manage to reduce council tax for the third year running without massively affecting it’s services, then why should we in South Tyneside settle for anything less than a freeze in our bills?

Council leader Stephen Greenhalgh said it was possible to cut spending without losing services, although the borough has cut back on staffing by nearly 600 jobs in the past three years.

The borough has also saved £1.1million on accommodation costs for workers and spending on staff from agencies has fallen from £24million to £21million.

It is the third year of council tax cuts in the borough, making the average band D taxpayer £175 better off this year than last.

South Tyneside’s Labour cabinet ought to forget about the phoney consultations that they normally throw at us (you know, asking how much of an increase you would like), and start consultations with councillors in other parts of the country in order to find out just exactly how tax reductions can be achieved!

Hammersmith and Fulham have obviously prioritised certain services to maintain and reduced spending in other areas, their waste reduction programme has delivered year after year, and operations have been slimmed down and streamilined, all of which are of great benefit to their tax payers.

Can we honestly say that we always deliver value for money services in South Tyneside, are they evaluated on a per client/user basis? Can we provide on a cheaper basis?

Don’t we deserve a break Cllr. Malcolm?

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Written by curly

November 26, 2008 at 10:04 pm