Goodness, the Standards Board has not even been properly abolished yet, and already Councillors from the same party are turning on one another. Councillor Jean-Paul Floru (Westminster) has been driven to the brink of financial ruin by the amount of Council Tax he has been required to pay on his spare houses in Kent.
So upset has this made him, he’s written for the Taxpayers’ Alliance to condemn the garden of England and others for having a controlling group who are “Conservative in name only”, and challenging those around the country to make the same savings as have been achieved in Westminster.
I’m all for lower Council tax (we don’t get a staff discount, you know), but there are moments in political life when one might think, from a comfortable distance, that a pause for reflection and a period of silence might be wise. This is particuarly true when there is a risk of claiming that one has achieved by struggle that which has in fact been gained by luck.
For while it is true (I shall use 2008-9 figures, they were the most conveniently available to me) that Westminster charges an average Council tax of only £203 per head, as against £437 in the Dover area (£382 for Kent County and £55 for Dover District), that is not the whole story. It turns out that net Council spending in that year was £1008 per head in Westminster, and only £760 in Dover (£610 for the County, £150 for the District).
So there we have it, Westminster are in fact splurging fully a third more of other people’s money into the hands of scroung… I’m sorry, I’ve been reading the TPA website too long and turned into the Daily Express. In any event, while I’m sure many wise political and managerial decisions have been made in Westminster, one might look more to the fact that the national redistribution of business rates delivers £653 per resident to Westminster, and only £245 per head to Dover, as at least part of the explanation.
A rather different perspective. Apologies to long-term readers who will have seen a similarly-themed rant from me on a previous occasion. Newer readers who have enjoyed this post may be interested in that one too.