The Tories on North Kesteven District Council tell us that council tax must go up because “the council will continue to face difficult times over the next three years, particularly due to the level of grant receivable from government.”
I’m of the opinion that it doesn’t need to be this way.
There are alternatives, but the Tories in charge of North Kesteven District Council would rather increase your council tax than make financial changes within the council. I believe the council should have a duty to reduce its costs before imposing higher costs on the residents – costs that must not negatively impact public services.
The official budget, approved by the Full Council on 28th February this year, is required by law to be a balanced budget. The council tax increase (at band D) of £4.95 a year will bring in an estimated £184,600.
My alternative budget idea proposes a council tax freeze, and to fund this I propose making a series of cuts to the council’s budget that ensure front-line services remain protected. These include:
- 25% cut to the annual car allowance (£64k)
- 10% cut in the cost of software licences through negotiation and switching to open source alternatives where possible (£33k)
- Axing the chauffeur-driven car (£11k)
- 12% cut in contractor payments through renegotiation with contractors (£65k)
- Halting expensive staff training programmes (est. £90k)
Total saving: £230,000.
This will not only allow for a freeze in the level of council tax and give a respite for the hardworking people of North Kesteven, but it will also allow for investment across the district that’s badly needed.
At the next General Election the country will hopefully have a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn. This will mean increasing funding for councils to begin to repair the devastation caused by cruel Tory cuts and consign austerity to the history books.
Over the coming weeks prior to the election I will update my alternative budget ideas to present a number of ways the council could have a balanced budget without passing further burden on to the residents of North Kesteven.
Labour will show that there is another way to fund services in North Kesteven.