Day: 9 December 2014

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.

I have written about empty homes in Shropshire before, making the case that we have a worse performance than most other councils. This morning, the Lib Dem group on Shropshire Council is calling for the council’s empty homes policy to be beefed up. We are aiming to make positive and constructive proposals to strengthen Shropshire Council’s Empty Homes Strategy 2014-17. You can read a quick reminder of the facts at the end of this post. In procedural terms, we have “called in” the strategy, which was approved by Portfolio Holder Mal Price on 10 November. That means it will be debated at a special meeting of the Enterprise and Growth Scrutiny Committee at 10am this morning.

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