Shropshire Council is withdrawing support for the county’s rural communities

The council customer service point in Ludlow Library is open four days a week. But plans are afoot to reduce its opening to two days a week, Tuesday and Friday. This will mean that vulnerable people will find it harder to access support and get referrals to the food bank. Age Concern told the Shropshire Star that the countywide cuts will be a serious blow for the elderly. Shrewsbury will though get a gold-plated service, far better than Ludlow and other rural towns.

Other cuts to community support are on the way. Shropshire Council is no longer interested in supporting the rural communities in our county.

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Cuts become cruel as Shropshire Council moves to reduce payments to needy adults

Is this a necessary cut or just a cruel cut? Shropshire Council is scheming to reduce the minimum income guarantee for the neediest adults. Of course, budgets are tight. Other councils pay less to needy people than Shropshire. So as always, Shropshire Council is following the pack to the back rather than leading from the front.

We should support the most vulnerable and impoverished in our society, not pay council executives more.

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When the wind blows, streets are littered with recycling – but Shropshire Council refuses simple solutions

The wind has been blowing hard since yesterday afternoon. Today is recycling day for parts of Ludlow and many other areas. And once again, we are seeing the all too familiar scene of plastics and tins being blown from the recycling boxes and littering the streets. What is Shropshire Council planning to do about this? Absolutely nothing.

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Council tax bills set to rise next year as everyone passes the buck on who funds services

We don’t yet know how much council tax will rise next year. That will be decided in February but we have some early clues. Shropshire Council’s financial plan assumes a rise of 3.99%, though it may be tempted to take advantage of a government offer made just before Christmas to add an extra 1% to the bill.

The Police and Crime Commissioner is proposing an increase of 4%, though the government has since said he would be allowed to raise half as much again. The Fire Service and Ludlow Town Council have yet to declare their plans.

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Shropshire Council agrees to buy a shopping centre, build a road, refurbish its offices but not build council housing

Yesterday, Shropshire Council agreed in private session to buy the Darwin, Pride Hill and Riverside shopping centres. BBC Radio Shropshire is suggesting that the purchase price is £60 million. The day before, the cabinet agreed to spend £300,000 on consultancy fees to examine refurbishing Shirehall at the cost of more than £18 million. If the government approves the North West Relief Road around Shrewsbury, the council will chip in £21 million and pay for any overspend. In the same breath, it is aiming to raise £1.2 million a year by imposing contributions to council tax on some of the poorest in our county.

This cruel imbalance in spending and taxation partly arises from political ambitions and dogma. It also arises from spending cuts and the obscurity of local government accounting rules that prevent us spending capital receipts on services.

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