Vote now: Should Shropshire Council raise council tax by nearly 4% next April?

Today’s council cabinet was chaired by the new leader, Malcolm Pate for the first time. One of the most important items it considered is whether to raise council tax.

For years council tax in Shropshire has been frozen while central government funding has been harshly cut back. Now the writing is truly on the wall. In 2016/17, the council faces a funding gap of £18m (PDF). The accumulated funding gap over the next five years is projected to be £60m.

That means eye-watering cuts to even the most essential of services. The question is whether the council should ease the scale of cutbacks by raising local taxes.

Today’s cabinet meeting agreed: Continue reading “Vote now: Should Shropshire Council raise council tax by nearly 4% next April?”

Poll: the 5p plastic bag charge came in today – what is your view?

From this morning, a 5p charge comes in for single-use carrier bags. This welcome move will encourage people to reuse bags saving energy resources. It will reduce plastic bag litter on land and in our oceans.

The carrier bag charge is not a government tax. The money raised is expected to go to charity (but stores could legally keep it).

Unfortunately, as is common with almost anything that comes out of Whitehall, the charge is not being introduced a straightforward way. Stores employing less than 250 employees are exempt from the charge, though many will introduce it voluntarily. It would have been much simpler to introduce the charge for all stores. And it would have been better if all bags, regardless of whether they are paper or plastic are charged. Continue reading “Poll: the 5p plastic bag charge came in today – what is your view?”

Three quarters vote in favour of 24 opening for new Ludlow petrol station and store

We are expecting plans for a patrol station and store on the corner of Bromfield Road and Coronation Avenue to be approved at the April meeting of the South Planning Committee. One of the concerns of the committee was opening hours, with some members feeling it should not be open 24 hours.

The people who responded to my online poll largely disagree. Continue reading “Three quarters vote in favour of 24 opening for new Ludlow petrol station and store”