Pay more and more council tax for fewer and fewer services – Devon Conservatives’ inspiring record of managing the County Council’s decline reaches a new low
My last post but not least on yesterdays County Council meeting – it approved the budget and set an increase in Council Tax of 4.99 per cent.
As my Independent colleague Cllr Claire Wright explained in her speech, health visitors, funding for foster care, the schools counselling service, among others are to be cut, cut, cut – while an extra £5m is stashed away in reserves (because of the unreliability of the Government’s new wheeze of letting councils keep business rates as a partial substitute for central funding).
I pointed out that – while we all want to protect spending on the young, elderly and disabled – another year of huge rises in Council Tax (making 14 per cent in the last 3 years) will hit hard those managing on modest incomes.
As a colleague pointed out, Council Tax is an unfair tax and the way in which the Government is loading social care costs on to it is a disgrace.
I said you’d have thought that it would be good for Devon to have the same party running its council which runs the national government. Actually it’s the opposite – the Tory Government takes advantage of the Devon Tories’ slavish loyalty, and the Devon Tories let them get away with it.
YOU CAN WATCH MY SPEECH BY CLICKING HERE AND FAST-FORWARDING TO 1:56.
As above-inflation council tax rises loom – men’s real earnings in Devon fell by over 3 per cent in 2017
A shocking figure leaps out from the Equality Impact Statement for next month’s Devon County Council budget – average male full time earnings in the county did not increase at all in 2017. The annual change was ZERO! Since inflation ended the year at 3.1 per cent per annum, this means average male earnings fell by this amount. Many families still rely wholly or mainly on a male full-time worker, so this means a drastic fall in many people’s income (indeed since the figure is an average, many will have lost more than this).
Average female full-time earnings did rise, by 3.8 per cent (a small real increase) but since many women work part-time, this doesn’t necessarily mean that overall women were better off. Taking male and female full-time workers together, there was a cash increase of 1 per cent, meaning a 2.1 per cent average decline.
Can Devon councillors go along with above-inflation council tax increases when their constituents already have falling real incomes?