Author Topic: Council tax..  (Read 6252 times)

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Offline Terry Reynolds

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Council tax..
« on: February 01, 2017, 09:12:48 AM »
It is no surprise that the council will increase council tax by the now allowed 5% this year. It will mean an increase of around £60 on my  Band D house, on top of that, of course, we also now have the back door tax rise by the council, called the new precept charges, which further add to the costs, and will be in the region of again £60, if you save for a rainy day, then for the time being, your safe, but that empty pocket feeling is getting nearer by the day. Pension rises, if any, are no way making up for these increase tax rises. Does the council and the government expect us to find yet another piggy bank to make ends meet?. I urge all readers to, as I have now done, to write to your either south or north Swindon MP, and ask what is going on and where do we find this money from. OAPs, in Stratton, now face an increase of over £200,  Explanation required please..... :wakeup:



Offline the gorgon

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Re: Council tax..
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2017, 05:15:35 PM »
Interesting PMQs today, Tory Surrey Council were going to have a referendum on a 15% CT rise to pay for social care, is called off at the last minute - looks like Empress May has given them a few quid.

Meanwhile the cowards (or is it sycophants looking for an Order of the Brown Nose from Empress May) at SBC introduce parishes to do a stealth increase.

A "me too" approach from SBC probably won't work now, the gov will call their bluff.  Perhaps SBC should threaten to resign from the Conservative party - mind you I don't see Tory HQ being too worried they'd probably be quite glad.

Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: Council tax..
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2017, 10:04:58 AM »
Its nearly April and the start of the new tax year, so now is the time, if you pay our council tax by direct debt, to cancel it and in future send in your payment by cheque, I'm sure this council, on its way to bankruptcy, will be glad of the money.. :2funny:

Offline wayo

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Re: Council tax..
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2017, 11:28:20 PM »
Interesting PMQs today, Tory Surrey Council were going to have a referendum on a 15% CT rise to pay for social care, is called off at the last minute - looks like Empress May has given them a few quid.

Meanwhile the cowards (or is it sycophants looking for an Order of the Brown Nose from Empress May) at SBC introduce parishes to do a stealth increase.

A "me too" approach from SBC probably won't work now, the gov will call their bluff.  Perhaps SBC should threaten to resign from the Conservative party - mind you I don't see Tory HQ being too worried they'd probably be quite glad.

So they have hit the doormat today - 10.9% overall increase in Band C.

The $64m question - is it legal?

The Parish Council's don't exist.
There won't even be elections until May.
I can't see a budget - the precept is around £2m for Central South Swindon Parish and I believe it is a legal requirement to set a budget in order to charge a precept if you are raising over £100k and do so at the same time of issuing the demand?
There is no Responsible Financial Officer - as far as I can tell - another legal requirement.

Basically no democratically elected representatives appear to have signed off on this and it has more than a faint whiff of a banana republic about it.

It is also plain daft. Central Swindon will have one of the highest precepts going. This doesn't make sense in an urban area where there is a much higher tax base and it is cheaper to deliver mass services. Nor does it make sense to have a Parish Council with no tax raising powers over anyone except residents, pay for emptying litter bins in the town centre, or clearing up after the night time economy, whose taxes will continue to go straight to the Rotten Borough.

If CSPC take on the management of Faringdon Park for example, aside from that being used by people from all over the town, what happens when the Rotten Borough want to host a gig there? Sounds like a nice racket for contract lawyers.

Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: Council tax..
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2017, 10:03:01 AM »
I don't know if you know, but on the 17th Feb, a lad on the Swindon discussion group website, started up a petition, to make the council have a referendum on this latest tax rise, he had the 5 signatures needed to make it legal and so presented it to the petitions office, they have, now been sitting on this, saying they are 'checking' it to make sure its correct and so nothing done no more signatures etc, Our MPs are aware of this and have done nothing, the petition office, if asked, comes back with utter rubbish about the 'check', and so it rolls on, soon the invoices will be on your mat and so a referendum vote wont be needed. This is Democracy now in the 2017 era, utter disgrace.. :WTF:

Offline wayo

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Re: Council tax..
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2017, 10:56:51 AM »
I don't know if you know, but on the 17th Feb, a lad on the Swindon discussion group website, started up a petition, to make the council have a referendum on this latest tax rise, he had the 5 signatures needed to make it legal and so presented it to the petitions office, they have, now been sitting on this, saying they are 'checking' it to make sure its correct and so nothing done no more signatures etc, Our MPs are aware of this and have done nothing, the petition office, if asked, comes back with utter rubbish about the 'check', and so it rolls on, soon the invoices will be on your mat and so a referendum vote wont be needed. This is Democracy now in the 2017 era, utter disgrace.. :WTF:

To be honest I have no interest in a referendum.

Although clearly wrong, it is perfectly legal for a Parish Council to raise its precept by more than 5%. Next door in Chippenham it is rising 8%. Its not contestible without a change by Central government.

This is about governance. In Chippenham there is an elected Parish Council which receives money from Wiltshire, from Sports hire and a large precept. It spends money on a museum, public loos and sports facilities.

To ask for a precept over £100k they have to produce a budget and the elected councillors vote on it. That is the law.

In Swindon the Shadow Parish Council is basically the ward councillors for SBC. In other words the very people the Parish should be negotiating with over who runs Faringdon Park, the Railway village museum and whatever else is in its remit and what SBC will fund.

The Parish should also be contracting out for services like bin emptying not letting the rapacious SBC take care of things for it, no doubt onbtheir terms.

I also did a little research on Sutton Coldfield. They demerged from Birmingham following a referendum.

As a new council they had to raise £200k a year for 3 years to build up financial reserves. They are slightly smaller than Central South Swindon. How is this in the interests of the community and was it ever consulted on?

Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: Council tax..
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2017, 04:13:36 PM »
If you look at Swindon north parish, the new charges are 1. £383.85 and 2. £84.81, the second charge is for 'enhanced service' from sbc, and charge 1 is for the services that the parish are taking over, so what actually are we getting for this 'enhanced' service'
The papers issued also said that services have to be maintained at the current sbc standard as at 1\4\17. so that means we wont be getting items like street cleaning or gully cleaning more than once every two or three years and also said about the street signs , the one at the end of our street hasn't been cleaned I dont think, since it was put up.. so why all these costs, the grass is going to be cut 6 times a year..  the mind boggles.. utter disgrace..
I have asked these questions at the last full council meeting, but was not read out, and was then told I had to send such questions now to the parish leader\clerk, This I have done, and surprise surprise, no reply..

Offline wayo

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Re: Council tax..
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2017, 05:33:14 PM »
If you look at Swindon north parish, the new charges are 1. £383.85 and 2. £84.81, the second charge is for 'enhanced service' from sbc, and charge 1 is for the services that the parish are taking over, so what actually are we getting for this 'enhanced' service'
The papers issued also said that services have to be maintained at the current sbc standard as at 1\4\17. so that means we wont be getting items like street cleaning or gully cleaning more than once every two or three years and also said about the street signs , the one at the end of our street hasn't been cleaned I dont think, since it was put up.. so why all these costs, the grass is going to be cut 6 times a year..  the mind boggles.. utter disgrace..
I have asked these questions at the last full council meeting, but was not read out, and was then told I had to send such questions now to the parish leader\clerk, This I have done, and surprise surprise, no reply..

Swindon North has a similar problem to Swindon South in that it will be responsible for cleaning a good area of the business / commercial part of the town. But it has no tax claim on any business rates or the night time economy. The budget is over £1m and £112 per household (Band D) the latter being very similar to Swindon South.

Swindon South seems to be well behind Swindon North in the budget setting (£2m) - and the question you seem to be avoiding - is it legal to levy a precept without a budget????

Swindon North has been offered a £400k contract with Streetsmart to empty the same bins they empty now, clearly madness as you will have 4 new contracts with Streetsmart to do what is done now, as well as a new tier of democracy costing around £100k per Parish.

As the Parish does not exist and has not tendered for this work, it can effectively be held to ransom with SBC acting as its own judge and jury as the current SBC councillors are both the Borough and the Parish.

In Swindon South, the proposed Streetsmart charge is £970k, about half the £115 per household precept, and on its own more than the total £50 precept paid in Sutton Coldfield. Again this is madness as you have a residential council tax precept paying for bin emptying on Regent Street and outside Starbucks. If you look at other example like Weston-super-Mare Town Council, they do not have residents paying for beach cleaning, the County do this.

Parish councils cannot have statutory obligations and can in effect choose to do nothing. The minutes of Swindon North suggest they will decline to take on the BRING recycling site and public toilets, at which point the ball comes back to SBC. Nothing becomes an obligation until the Parish chooses to take it on.

If Swindon South said we are not taking town centre litter collection, then it is up to SBC to continue collecting, or simply to plate up the bins and continue in its statutory duties in respect of vermin control and litter clearence under the EPA 1990.

Time for these new Parishes to stop acting like the victims and start playing hardball with the Rotten Borough.

Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: Council tax..
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2017, 09:39:36 AM »
Thanks for your reply, Ill now email parish leaders etc and see what they think of this legal question>>

Offline Midlander

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Re: Council tax..
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2017, 02:19:28 PM »
Well due to the rising council tax, and the fact I'm earning less money than last year, I've decided to cancel my gym membership.

What I don't understand is why we are having to pay for this? If the council are handing over the cost of grass cutting etc to the parishes, then why are they still charging us for it?


Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: Council tax..
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2017, 08:10:34 PM »
ask the council leader I did and still waiting for a reply....... :WTF:

Offline Midlander

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Re: Council tax..
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2017, 09:24:02 AM »
Oh of course, I just realized - there's no local election this year (with the exception of the parish councillor)
They can do what they like and hope we forget it all next year

Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: Council tax..
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2017, 01:57:30 PM »
I hope our two MPs are up for reselection next year as well...... :wakeup:

Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Council tax..
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2017, 07:43:05 PM »
With the rising cost of adult social care, we have to choose between more cuts or increased tax.

In my opinion, the increase in council tax is overdue and better than cuts on top of cuts. I would have preferred it if SBC raised the extra tax themselves without outsourcing to parishes, but overall raising tax is a better option than cutting more services.

Offline the gorgon

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Re: Council tax..
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2017, 10:11:21 PM »
I'd rather local and national government were honest about the social care problem this country faces (aka the demographic time bomb).

The rising cost of social care could become a more divisive issue than the EU one that is accelerated by leaving the EU (migrant workers helped keep care costs down, without them costs and taxes will rise even faster).

God help us if a Farage style figure mobilises 'the young', because they've got plenty of things to be unhappy about (lets hope that we don't get any long hot summers over the next two years).  Just today the Adver online has a article about cuts to school funding, never mind educating the young to make sure they become productive and net contributors to the tax pot in the future

Offline Midlander

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Re: Council tax..
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2017, 09:52:03 AM »
Although we haven't had a council tax rise for a few years, the money going into the council tax has still been rising, as every year I see more and more houses being built in town, without any infrastructure provided. I'm assuming every one of these home owners are paying Council Tax, so the amount going into the council must be very high. Problem is all I hear is that we have to make cutbacks.

Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: Council tax..
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2017, 10:04:46 AM »
The eastern development is said to be around 8000 people, so think of the council tax on that lot, and then think if any new details of the GW hospital being upgraded. not on your life..

Offline the gorgon

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Re: Council tax..
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2017, 01:39:51 PM »
The eastern development is said to be around 8000 people, so think of the council tax on that lot, and then think if any new details of the GW hospital being upgraded. not on your life..


Upgrade?  New hospital more like. 

When the GWH opened in around 2002 (before the NSD had been completed) the population was 180,000, now it's 215,000 by 2021 it'll be getting towards 230,000 thousand.

http://population.city/united-kingdom/swindon/

According to the development plan 26,000 homes will be built in Swindon, assuming an average of 2 people per house that's 52,000 more people, that's like adding a town the size of Weymouth to Swindon.

Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Council tax..
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2017, 07:54:14 PM »
Although we haven't had a council tax rise for a few years, the money going into the council tax has still been rising, as every year I see more and more houses being built in town, without any infrastructure provided. I'm assuming every one of these home owners are paying Council Tax, so the amount going into the council must be very high. Problem is all I hear is that we have to make cutbacks.

More houses means more council tax and more money going in to the council, but it also means more people using services and taking money out. More school children, more elderly in care, more claiming housing benefit, more people wanting their bins emptied. More people fly tipping, more vandalism, more needing a council house. How many are paying full council tax and how many are claiming the 80% rebate or not paying it at all.

Paying a higher minimum wage or a living wage increases the council's wage bill. Low interest rates also mean the council will be making employer contributions of about 24% into the staff pension scheme in order to maintain a final salary of average salary pension. The cost of employing the same number of staff is now greater.

If the council was balancing its books and making a profit more taxpayers means more profit, but if it is spending more than it earns, more people using services means bigger losses.

One solution is encouraging more immigrants of working age who will pay more council tax than then they claim back in services and benefits, but not everyone wants that.

Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: Council tax..
« Reply #19 on: March 24, 2017, 06:08:47 PM »
In reply to article 7, the Swindon North parish council, have now said that they will take over the public toilets in Chapel Street, and in the first three years, they intend to spend around 7 and half thousand pounds, to get the facility refurbished and acceptable for use. At the meeting I was against this proposal but was shouted down, and now they spend this money, which is ours by the way, on doing the place up, surely the council has an obligation, if they want to hand it over, to make sure it has been upgraded and refurbished first!! :censored: