11 November 2012

Put Council Tax up - a petition

Options 2 & 3 resonate with Mr Mustard
Oh dear poor Richard Cornelius, yet another email into his inbox from Mr Mustard. Richard gets at least one a week from Mr Mustard and many get put onto the too difficult pile. Others, like this one following on from the fantastically full One Barnet Question Time, don't call for a reply:

Dear Cllr Cornelius

On Thursday evening John Dix ( Mr Reasonable ) suggested you look again at increasing the level of council tax. I agree with him. Holding down council tax artificially by cutting services to the less well off so that you can score political points does not strike me as prudent or proper. Every other bill for my house has gone up with or above inflation as have food, vehicle costs etc. You are disadvantaging the public purse if you carry on as you are. By all means don't increase council tax if that can be achieved by dint of in-house efficiency savings, but don't do it and then cut services.

I note that in a report on business planning presented to cabinet on 20 February 2012 that residents were reported as not fundamentally opposed to the raising of council tax (Page 86 of 320).

If council tax was increased by, say, 2.5% on my band E property (and please forgive me for not understanding how the complicated grant system works as I think there are some government clawbacks but don't know the details - it is the principle that interests me - you can get officers to work on the fine details as to how much of an increase could be made without penalty) then I would pay a mere extra £43 a year (less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, isn't that what Cllr Brian Coleman said to justify the £40 to £100 CPZ permit charge increase? - i.e. insignificant) and an extra income of around £4m p.a. would accrue to the council (£153,385,750 * 2.5% - In fact over a decade the attached spreadsheet (now below) shows you could have an extra £44m coming in.) This would go a long way to making the savings currently being guessed at for One Barnet of £111m.

You could reverse some of the more unpopular cuts e.g. re-open Friern Barnet library and put the charges for the elderly and disadvantaged back to where they were and row back on some of the Council Tax Support cuts. You could become less dependent on the parking income, which is rather dangerously built into the budget, and put the permit charges back to what they were and scrap the unpopular private events in parks scheme etc.

The above are obvious examples purely intended to give you the flavour of what could be done with more money.

Quite simply you would give yourself some time & wriggle room to implement more popular & useful policies, scrap One Barnet as it currently stands and instead look properly in full detail at each department in turn and cost the in-house option.

Yours sincerely

Mr Mustard


Year Start of year +Inflation Extra income

at 2.5% (cumulative)
1 159,385,750 163,370,394 3,984,644
2 163,370,394 167,454,654 8,068,904
3 167,454,654 171,641,020 12,255,270
4 171,641,020 175,932,045 16,546,295
5 175,932,045 180,330,347 20,944,597
6 180,330,347 184,838,605 25,452,855
7 184,838,605 189,459,570 30,073,820
8 189,459,570 194,196,060 34,810,310
9 194,196,060 199,050,961 39,665,211
10 199,050,961 204,027,235 44,641,485

Mr Mustard sent this email to every councillor as he likes them all to know how he is thinking and otherwise how would they and he blind copied it to a few of the usual suspects. One of his friends suggested a petition and that she would support it. Mr Mustard decided to take up the suggestion and you can find the petition here

If you agree with the petition please sign it and tell your friends. 

If you don't agree please add your comments at the bottom. 

If you neither agree nor disagree you probably aren't reading this blog!

By using the Gopetition service rather than the one on the council website the council cannot send you any messages telling you why they are right as they did to the people who signed the library petition, including Mr Mustard, which annoyed him considerably. Not a smart move by the council to repeat all the old arguments that had been aired before people decided to sign the library petitionin the first place.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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