Thursday, January 24, 2008

Let's Move to Scotland

Council tax bills are rising everywhere, well almost. Not a lot in the North of England and not at all in Scotland. Now there's a surprise as we struggle with rising costs and a reduced central government subsidy down to 1% here, in the South of the country.

Leaders of councils across the South East have commissioned a special economic study to highlight the threats they now face from the Government's decision to redistribute money to the North.

Henry Smith, the chairman of the South East County Leaders, said: "Whitehall needs to stop taking the South East for granted."

Local authority leaders said it was well known that northern cities were "swimming in cash" this year.

A spokesman for St Helen's Metropolitan borough council, which is imposing only a 2.5 per cent rise in council tax for 2008-09, said: "The northern councils seem to have benefited much more this year, there is a great deal of muttering from the southern councils.

"We have seen a 5.5 per cent increase in our central government settlement and we are obviously very happy with that."


Tony Beachcomber said...

Ed, all we seem to hear from the conservatives is percentage this and percentage that.
How much in hard cash does TDC actually get from central government.

Also if TDC are 1% down on what they expected how come they got this 1 million black hole.

Ewen Cameron said...

Tony, the Council’s financial statements are public documents. They are available for anyone who wishes to inspect them

The quick answer to your question is to combine the Revenue Support Grant and the NNDR Rate Pool Allocation.

For the year 2006/7, these amounted to roughly £12.44m. The rest of the Council’s core budget has to come from Council Tax, or from other revenue-raising sources the Council controls.

The majority of Council Tax does not stay in Thanet, or, at least flows out to payments to fund county-wide services such as the Police etc.

As a rough guide, TDC raises about £188 per band D household, in terms of what it actually gets to use to balance the budget.

The reason everyone tends to use percentages is that they illustrate change more accurately than absolute figures. Plus, you can compare them to cost inflation.

The current central government settlement amounts to an decrease, measured by inflation of the Council’s general costs (before any attempt at growth in service provision) of about –3.5%, or 3.5 pence per pound less.

For every pound lost in central government funding, council tax goes up by £1.60.

In case anyone runs away with the idea that the Council is a junky for central government funding – well, we collect around £24m in commercial revenue each year (business rates etc). That goes to Westminster, not TDC. Add on income tax, corporation tax, VAT, fuel duty, IHT, CGT and everything else raised in the area (all of which goes to Mr Darling) – well, the figures speak for themselves.

The “£1m black hole” is a fiction. Myth and mischief, propogated by something beginning with “L”. We’ve already settled a draft budget, and it’s balanced, albeit thanks, in small part, to a planned reduction in the reserves built up from prudent management these past five years (again, it’s all on public record). We’re now working on 09/10.

And we’ve committed to no more than a 4.5% increase in council tax this year. That’s about 4.5% more than I would like, but getting books to balance in these conditions is tough. I’d almost love to live in a Northern, Labour marginal area. Strangely, these funding constraints don’t seem to apply there.


Cllr. Ewen Cameron

Anonymous said...

Lets be honest about the device used by this Labour Govt of juggling tax-payers money in the direction of its Northern Labour strongholds; its just a modern form of buying votes that was outlawed years ago. The Victorians would have loved this 'legal' device to have continued the practice of giving 'hand-outs' to ensure votes went the way they wanted. the practice used to be called BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION!

Anonymous said...

"Henry Smith, the chairman of the South East County Leaders, said: "Whitehall needs to stop taking the South East for granted."

Lets be realistic about this, the South East does not by and large vote for Liebour so it's inevitable that more money will go to Scotland and the North. Brown and his cronies will continue to take us for granted because they continue to get away with this bribery.

Tony Beachcomber said...


I looked up the grants recieved and Thanet gets the most in Kent.
Also Thanet receives more than Burnley,Chorley,fylde,Hyndburn, Ribble Valley, Rossendale
South Ribble and West Lancashire.
That is just lancashire.