Michael Buckingham (Conservative candidate for the District Council), has this to say in the latest edition of South Molton News:
“My council tax in London, in the Conservative led borough of Wandsworth, was half what I pay in North Devon.”
That may well be the case, and there are very many reasons why Wandsworth’s council tax is so low, but the interesting point – which Michael doesn’t mention – is that the bulk of council tax in North Devon goes to the Conservative controlled County Council.
Of the £1,668.62 Band D tax bill for a South Molton resident the county council takes 70% and the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner takes 10%. The LibDem/Independent led District Council take only 10%, with the remainder going to the Conservative controlled Devon and Somerset Fire Authority and SMTC.
The District Council didn’t increase their council tax bill this year. The SMTC bill went down and the other three authorities increased rates by 1.99%. So the only increases came from Conservative controlled authorities!
Interestingly Wandsworth Council think that in order to balance the books their Band D council tax bill will have to increase by a whopping 40% in 2016/17 with a further increase of 20% the following year. That will mean that between 2015/16 and 2017/18 the Wandsworth Band D bill will have increased by an extraordinary 68%!
That’s not all. The Wandsworth bill includes money payable to the Greater London Authority (the GLA) and the GLA charge will go down. This means that the amount that Wandsworth itself levies will go up by a massive 75% in 2016/17 and a further for 28% in 2017/18 – a total of 124%!
I wonder how they’ll cope given that under current legislation any increase of more than 2% requires a referendum of the council’s electors?