Election 2019: What parties will do with your council tax
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How taxpayers’ money is best spent is a key part of any election campaign and with the Government cutting councils’ funding, it is bound to be a big issue over the next four years.
The main parties have given their pledges on what they will do if elected.
Maintaining low council tax – the second lowest in the South West – and concentrating on essential care services, road maintenance, waste collection, more employment and future investment is our plan.
Business-friendly investment policies meaning North Somerset has the lowest level of unemployment nationally.
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We have doubled road maintenance, maintained weekly food waste collections and recyclables when other councils are now two or three-weekly, and retained a free green waste collection service. We’re on target to achieve zero landfill by 2020.
A new swimming facility is still planned and additional gym provision welcomed.
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The Conservatives have an excellent record of getting through a decade of cuts while keeping essential services and children’s centres and libraries which have been closed elsewhere.
Put all that in the context of £105million saved and continuing low council tax, it is easy to see why North Somerset’s performance is so well recognised by Government and neighbouring authorities.
The Green Party supports the Local Government Association in drawing the Government’s attention to the crisis in local authority funding.
The years of austerity have resulted in deep cuts in essential services impacting on all residents, especially the most vulnerable.
While the executive has ensured we still have the second lowest council tax in the South West, those on the lowest income pay more than in neighbouring authorities.
North Somerset has one of the greatest levels of inequality and we would seek to address that.
We would prioritise reversal of damaging cuts in preventative services for vulnerable children and adults which have led to greater need for high level expensive interventions.
We would also seek to invest in projects to address climate emergency and aim towards carbon neutrality by 2030.
For decades local tax money has gone to profit-making companies providing council services.
But it was once normal for councils themselves to run things residents need and like such as public toilets, parks, affordable housing and well-supported social care services and rubbish collections.
We will build on local Labour’s alternative budget for 2019/20, which means taking a fresh look at council spending to bring in more money such as trimming councillors’ expenses.
Despite Government cuts, North Somerset still spends hundreds of millions of pounds every year.
Council tax has gone up by around £400 per year for the average household and charges for things like parking and care services have gone up too.
For Liberal Democrats, it is about how you make these decisions and the services you value.
We have challenged the council’s secretive spending of £100million on shopping centres and car parks.
We’ve put forward a costed alternative budget every year, focussing on getting basic services right – collecting the rubbish and recycling, cleaning the streets and looking after our young and old.
Virtually all our suggestions have been rejected by the Conservatives.
It is time for the Town Hall to listen to local people. The Conservative majority has been in power for 12 years and it is time for change.