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.
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.
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.
The company is planning to replace two kilometres of water pipes between Ludlow Food Centre and finish near Felton Farm. The work will start on 9 January and continue for 5 months. A drop-in session will take place in the Board Room at The Clive near Ludlow Food Centre on Wednesday 13 December between 3pm and 7pm.
Public funding for the community sector is sinking fast. Our youth budget is miniscule. Discretionary grants are evaporating. Faced with similar gaps in funding, some councils have launched local lotteries giving up to 60% of the ticket price to local good causes chosen by residents. It is time that we considered running a lottery for Shropshire. At next Thursday’s Shropshire Council meeting, I will be asking council officers to investigate the case for a countywide community lottery.
Continue reading “Should we run a county lottery to replace community funds that Shropshire Council won’t now provide?”