Council Tax

We all hate Council Tax rises and many of us vote for Conservative Councils in the hopes they will keep the Council taxes as low as practicable.

Since joining Adur Council, though, I have seen two things that I think you should know about:

1. Our Councillors work extremely hard to save every last pound. I always assumed Conservatives were more economically prudent, because they're supposed to be, but its as good as I could have hoped for. If you want smaller Council tax increases you really are better off voting for a Conservative Council.

2. Extraordinary amounts of money are added to the Council Tax burden by central government. In tonight's Housing and Central Services Committee the Head of Finance presented a report which included items for next year's budget. Amongst these was £20,000 for changes to the Revenue system (the computer system that bills Council Tax and Council home rents etc.). This £20,000 isn't money to improve the system. It's not even money to change the system for a good reason...

It is just there because Whitehall has decided to change something and not provide Local Governments with the funds to cover the costs. And this isn't an unsual thing. One of our independent Councillors half-seriously asked the Head of Finance whether he could add up the amount of Council tax increase central government imposes on us... I have no doubt it would be a lot.

The truth is Councillors don't have a lot of power in some respects. For all the waffle surrounding the recent White Paper about giving power to local government what it really means is reducing the number of tiers of government who are told what to do. It is not about reducing the numbers of tiers of government and it is certainly not about reducing central interference.

You should, as I say, vote for the Conservatives at a local level, but for goodness sake be aware of how much is imposed upon your local representatives, against their will by that government in London.

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