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Council Tax – Do we get value for money?

| March 4, 2014

Ivor-2014-02-16-Bench-In-Parish-Churchyard

There was some good news at the end of last week.

For fourth year running Wycombe District Council has agreed to freeze its share of the Council Tax so there will be no rise in 2014/15.

In these times of financial hardship any small saving is a most welcome relief especially for those on lower incomes.

However I fear overall the Council Tax bills will be going up as a short while ago Bucks County Council approved a 1.5% increase in its share of the tax.

Claiming 73% of the annual household bill Bucks County Council takes the largest share of the Council Tax payment from a typical band D Wycombe home. Wycombe District Council gets 9%, the police 11% and the fire service 4%.

With so many different organisations jockeying for cash working out who gets what from a typical Council Tax bill is on a parallel with rocket science.

Thanks to the two-tier local authority system in place in South Buckinghamshire things are more complicated than they need to be. For example one authority is responsible for emptying our bins yet another operates the waste disposal sites which get rid of it.

When I consider how much of my Council Tax money goes to the District Council it does seem awfully good value for money for what yours truly receives in return.

But when considering how much goes to the County it’s a different story. The roads are in a shocking state and only a fraction of the roads are gritted in icy weather compared to years ago. Why on earth is a waste transfer station being built at Booker which will blight the area with hundreds of lorries carting rubbish around unnecessarily?

For what is paid to the County I don’t think one gets value for money in return.

It’s ironic that we pay our Council Tax to the authority which takes the least share who then sees the cash transferred from their hands to the bigger spending authority.

Why do we pay money to one authority only for them to pass most of it on? Surely it would make sense to pay the money to the main player who then dishes out the smaller portions to the small players? Why move money for the sake of it?

The collection of a single Council Tax payment and its divvying up to so many organisations has come to symbolise the ridiculousness of the two tier local authority system we have here in South Buckinghamshire.

Why can’t be have one authority, preferably at District level, which collects the money and provides us the services so they are directly accountable to the local tax payers?

What upsets me most is to think that the money my good self pays for road repairs may have actually been used on a A-road somewhere near Aylesbury when in actual fact the roads of Wycombe, where I live, are so awful.

Local government should be just that, local. Wycombe should be self supporting financially. Council Tax should be collected from the local households and that money should be spent in our own local District making Wycombe better for us on schemes that we approve and endorse.

Why should we hand over cash to the great and good in a concrete tower block in Aylesbury to do with as they see fit?

What do you think?

*Don’t forget my blogs are published twice a week here, on the Wycombe Today site, every Tuesday evening around 8pm and late on Friday evenings.

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