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Conservative-run Oxfordshire proposes Council Tax rise

Conservative-run Oxfordshire County Council is proposing a Council Tax rise.

The Local Government Chronicle reports (£):

A county leader proposing a council tax rise in election year insists voters will support his council’s financial plans at the ballot box.

It adds:

Oxfordshire leader Ian Hudspeth (Con) has suggested that voters were supportive of his proposal for a 1.99% increase.

If he was really confident how curious that the figure he calculates is required is 1.99%. Why not make it 2% the threshold for putting it to a referendum then he could find out whether voters are supportive or not.

Cllr Hudspeth adds:

"A small increase of 44p per Band D property - the price of a packet of fruit pastilles - will protect the services people need.”

Oxfordshire County Council share of the Council Tax bill is £1,162. It is already one of the highest taxing counties in the country - only Nottinghamshire and Dorset charge more. Cllr Hudspeth may regard finding an extra £23.24p a year as a triffling matter but this is insensitive as he forgets that Council Tax hits the poorest hardest.

Ken  Livingstone stood for Mayor of London last year with the message, of similar insouciance to that of Cllr Hudspeth, that cuts or increases in Council Tax were only equivalent to so many onions a week. Mr Livingstone lost.

You see some of us feel we are taxed enough already. We don't support any further increase however small.

Some would prefer Oxfordshire County Council to cease spending £240,000 a year employing trade union officials - in defiance of Government guidelines.

Or its £63,275 sub to the Local Government Association?

Or the quite staggering sums they spend on taxis taking able-bodied children to school and on agency staff.

Or reducing the debt mountain of £392 million costing £20.6 million a year in interest. Perhaps selling a few pubs, or cinemas or hotels or farms or empty buildings or whetever else Cllr Hudspeth and the rest of us would probably find the council owned if they published an asset register.

I hope Oxfordshire county councillors will reject any proposal for a Council Tax increase. It has no justification. If they really disagree they should put the matter to the residents in a referendum.

> From Monday: The Tory councils planning a Council Tax rise


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