Wednesday, 10 June 2015

U turn by Council coming soon?

I wonder how many of you were signed up at the Royal Cornwall Show (or on line/ in your local library) to 'pledge' your support for the Council's 'Case for Cornwall'?

I have always found it totally astonishing that these pledges are being obtained without explaining the real deal: the fact that part of the 'Case' involves a mandate to ask the Government to abolish the limit on annual rises in council tax in the absence of a public referendum.

For the first time yesterday, after I have gone on and on objecting to this for over a year ( the idea was first floated by Cllr Folkes when he was Cabinet member for Finance), there are now signs that the coalition at County Hall are finally starting to change their mind.

Well yes, back tracking is absolutely necessary. Probably no councillor has a mandate for this. Conservatives certainly do not. Further, the Conservative Manifesto 2015 pledges to help keep council tax rises low and maintain the referendum.

On average, council tax actually fell by 11 per cent in real terms (ie after taking account of inflation) under the last Conservative led coalition government.

I do not believe any Council has won a referendum on council tax rises since 1999 (in Milton Keynes). But I am not counting my chickens yet. I would not sign a pledge if I were you. But if you do, you may wish to write on it that you do not support more powers to raise council tax. Oddly, there is no box that deals with council tax.

I am stepping aside as Leader of the Conservative Group but this is one bone I am not giving up on.

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