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
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 Over the past decade in Britain a staggering amount of funding has been withdrawn from local government; in some areas as much as 60%.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