General election: Are you registered to vote?

The voting registration system has changed and the head of the household can no longer register other members. That’s likely to mean that a number of teenage first time voters will have failed to register.

You can check whether you’re registered to vote by calling Shropshire Council on 0345 678 9015 or by emailing elections@shropshire.gov.uk.

It might also be worth checking you are still registered if you have recently moved house.

It is now easy to register online: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. You will need your National Insurance number.

The deadline for registering to vote in the May general election is 20 April. The following day is the deadline for registering for a postal vote. If you want someone to vote on your behalf, a proxy vote, the registration deadline is 28 April.

Shropshire Council makes shameful decision on town and parish council grant (updated)

This article has been corrected to reflect the comments of David Turner below.

The decision was perhaps inevitable but that makes it no less shameful.

On Thursday morning, Shropshire Councillors voted by 43 votes to 23 to keep back more than half a million pounds of government money that was due to town and parish councils around the county.

The votes was on party lines with Labour and the independents voting for a Lib Dem amendment to dip into Shropshire Council’s reserves to ensure that local councils would get the money promised them by central government. All the Conservatives voted against the amendment. In doing so, they supported Shropshire Council retaining money that does not rightfully belong to it (how councillors voted). Continue reading “Shropshire Council makes shameful decision on town and parish council grant (updated)”

Shropshire Council leader backs parish council grant heist as he fails to mention minister’s letter

In today’s Shropshire Star and on BBC Radio Shropshire, Shropshire Council leader Keith Barrow has been engaged in a degree of damage limitation over his decision to hold back half a million pounds of government money intended for town and parish councils.

He said the controversial decision should have been handled differently with better consultation. But he justified the move saying parish councils held reserves and some were not putting up their precepts. He said he expected tomorrow’s council to approve the plans to retain the Council Tax Support Grant (this is money to compensate from losses parish councils would have suffered after council tax rules were changed a few years ago). The Lib Dem group will be calling for Keith Barrow to change his mind and pass the money on to town and parish councils. Continue reading “Shropshire Council leader backs parish council grant heist as he fails to mention minister’s letter”

Shropshire Council brings in New Year by pocketing town and parish council cash

How can you trust a public body Shropshire Council when it diverts cash meant for town and parish councils into its own coffers? That’s what it did before Christmas when the cabinet approved a damaging proposal to retain government funds it was told to pass on to local councils.

Ludlow Town Council, which is facing a near 13% cut in its funding, has come out fighting. Speaking to the Ludlow Advertiser on 18 December town clerk Gina Wilding said: “This proposal is unacceptable.” She continued:

Parish and town councils should have a financial framework to assist them in helping deliver local services. This decision is potentially damaging to joint working and the good relationships between local councils and Shropshire Council.

Continue reading “Shropshire Council brings in New Year by pocketing town and parish council cash”

Shropshire Council to take nearly £1 million from town & parish councils forcing their precepts up to keep council tax down

Shropshire Council’s cabinet is set, on Wednesday 10 December, to cancel distribution of the government grant that ministers say it should be giving to local councils across Shropshire.This means that from next April, nearly half a million pounds destined for town and parish councils will be hoarded by Shropshire Council to keep its council tax down. This will force many local councils to put their precepts up, while Shropshire Council keeps its council tax flat.

This move, if approved, will mean that Ludlow Town Council will lose £65,000 in grant aid over the next two financial years. Across the county, town and parish councils will lose £947,000 over the next two years. Shrewsbury will lose £146,000 and Bridgnorth £73,000.

Shropshire Council only published its plans on Monday afternoon, just a day and a half before the cabinet meets to agree the scheme (or perhaps reject it). There has been no consultation with town and parish councils and no public announcement. The plan is buried in a technical paper slipped out later than the other cabinet papers. Continue reading “Shropshire Council to take nearly £1 million from town & parish councils forcing their precepts up to keep council tax down”