Weston-super-Mare Town Council met this week to set its budget for the financial year ahead.
The Conservative Group were unanimously in favour of the budget prepared meticulously by Town Council staff offering a 0% rise in the precept – adding nothing to people’s Council Tax bills, but also resulting in no reduction in services. Many questioned whether, in the context of Covid, a reduction in Council Tax could make sense, but agreed 0% would allow a strong comeback year of events and improvements once Covid was over.
Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors, however, called for the Council to build on last year’s 27% tax rise and increase their portion of Council Tax still further. Conservative Councillors pointed out there were many areas where budgets have been consistently underspent and that whilst Covid is hitting local people in the pocket, now is not the time to raise taxes further; especially when the Council hasn’t been able to spend last year’s budget. These calls were ignored and Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors voted unanimously to increase local Council Tax rates for the second year in a row.
Conservative Group Leader Councillor Ian Porter said, “It’s just not right that local people are being asked to pay increased Council Tax for undefined but substantial allocations of funding. How can you ask local people for more money when they don’t even know what they’re spending it on?”
“We called on the Town Council to think about how Covid has hit local people and consider taking at least a year off from their relentless tax hikes but they just wouldn’t listen. They claim it’s a small sum of money, but with North Somerset Council and the Police also expected to increase their portion of Council Tax, and these new green bin charges, people in Weston and Worle are going to be paying over £100 more a year in Council Tax than they did just a couple of years ago.”