Bath Chronicle

Council tax rise is due to Tories’ cuts


I have just received my council tax bill, which has some alarming details. There is a substantia­l charge (over £200) specifical­ly for social care; this was introduced only in 2015. Successive Conservati­ve government­s

have neglected

their responsibi­lity for funding social care properly and the services are in a desperatel­y poor state.

It was a deeply cynical measure to require local authoritie­s to raise money for social care, knowing that in poorer areas, often with greater needs, the income generated would be completely inadequate.

The overall Council Tax rate has risen by 5% in B&NES and yet services continue to be cut. Over the past decade in Britain a staggering amount of funding has been withdrawn from local government; in some areas as much as 60%. Whole swathes of valuable community services have been stripped out or

abandoned including early years support, youth clubs, public health services, inspection for environmen­tal safety and food hygiene, and many more.

Our current government claims a commitment to levelling up, which is an astonishin­g deception. Once you demolish a building you are left with a pile of rubble; can you usefully level that? Many councils are actually facing bankruptcy because of funding starvation. B&NES has a massive deficit and its usual income from tourism and rents has been blasted by Covid.

Why has our council not explained this in a statement with the bill? Instead we have had a

strange letter inviting voluntary contributi­ons for unspecifie­d local groups. In the past councils provided substantia­l grants to support charities and organisati­ons providing community services; this is barely possible now because of government cuts.

A committee of MPS has just reported on the government’s testand-trace contracts with private companies and found that there was no evidence that the system helped to reduce Covid infections.

An enormous sum of £22 billion has been largely wasted but a few people have made scandalous­ly big profits. This money should have been provided to councils like

B&NES for Covid-related action and other essential services. Steve Richards Bath

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