So the inevitable has happened, an increase of 5.99% on council tax – and it’s legal.
Preliminary investigation highlights the smoke and mirrors approach. On the face of it Norfolk County Council has consulted and tried its best to explain the predicament. It has then ignored all the criticism. An easy way for councillors to raise extra money without transparently explaining specifically where it is being used.
A myriad of figures and percentages that do not appear to correlate to available county census statistics for population and households – at least councillors can now afford to travel to Lynn to explain themselves! Where does the tax payer find this extra money? What is in store for the next few years?
Leaders highlight the difficulty of being the meat in the sandwich, a situation our hospitals have been in for a long time. Less funding from Government, more people using services. Why doesn’t the increased number of new homes help the council tax situation?
The legal requirement to hold a referendum is any increase over 6%, 3% is council tax, the other 3% relates to the adult care precept. Strangely council tax has been set at a fraction below the referendum threshhold – is it just coincidence or is this the true amount needed to run our county?
We all know our economy is out of balance, but there is still no evidence of anything strategic – our councillors do not know where the next savings (I think they mean cuts) are coming from. In theory we could carry on cutting until there is nothing left to cut and still have to pay council tax!
The Borough Council is equally culpable, using motorists as a soft target with parking charge increases. Perhaps it is a subtle ploy to deter traffic in order to reduce the number of gridlocks.
Until the Government starts to modernise and accounts for its liabilities, then there is little hope for any sustainable recovery. No doubt the smoke and mirrors will continue to be used to find a feelgood factor. Meanwhile our inheritance from our Heroes is being squandered.