Inflation will be £5.3m of their £17.2m

SOME tough budget decisions are proposed for the coming financial year. Although I question the figures the administration has based these tough decisions on

SOME tough budget decisions are proposed for the coming financial year.Although I question the figures the administration has based these tough decisions on, namely the £17.2million budget 'shortfall' over two years, this shortfall was largely based on two things: The assumption Government would give North Somerset a small rise in income in the next two years. In fact, the rise is five per cent this year (around £2.7million) and 3.5 per cent the year after (around 1.9million), and secondly, £11.2million was based on the administration's predicted inflation figures for the next two years. While there is some truth in their claim, inflation for local government is often higher than general inflation. I am impressed they feel they can accurately predict what inflation North Somerset will face for April 2009 through to March 2010. They say this will be £5.3million of their £17.2million.Another area of concern is within the administration's strategic principles. While they say annual council tax increases will be restricted to less than the rate of general inflation, they make another more telling and potentially contradictory point.They say where Government imposes fines "the council may have no option but to pass these on to local taxpayers". Here they name LATS as an example of a fine which they would pass onto taxpayers.LATS is a complicated tax which exists to fine councils which send too much rubbish to landfill sites. Last summer, the Environmental Services Scrutiny Panel was briefed LATS would cost council taxpayers £1.46million in 2009/10 (around a 1.8 per cent council tax rise) and £2.36million in 2010/11 (about a three per cent council tax rise). So the named exception to their promise on council tax is something they are already well aware they have to pay.COUNCILLOR EDWARD KEATING - Via email


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