Council funding is still a bad deal for Shrewsbury and Shropshire

February 10, 2016 4:46 PM

On today's Shropshire Star website we read that Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski is going to support the Government's Council funding plan, after it pledged another £8.5 million. Previously the MP had said he would oppose the government.

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This £8.5 million is a one-off settlement, spread over 2 years. That's £5million this year and £3.5 million next year. This is a drop in the ocean compared to the £35 million the Council needs to find this year alone, and the £21 million needed for next year. Our MP has not fully understood the swingeing nature of the cuts to services that Shropshire residents face. This paltry offer will do nothing to keep our leisure centres, libraries and museums open, will not save our bus services, and will not stop reductions in services such as street cleaning, grass cutting and road gritting.

I am deeply disappointed that our MP has decided to support the government's funding plan, which is still such a bad deal for Shrewsbury and Shropshire.

Shropshire Star article

Part of the funding problem lies with the Conservative Party's insistence on keeping council tax at zero for many years, effectively starving the Council of resources. While many people may be grateful of a zero hike in council tax, if inflation and costs are going up and council tax is staying flat, there is less money in the kitty for important services like education improvement and caring for the elderly. Now the government has changed its approach, and expects Council's to be self-sufficient, raising all their revenue from council tax and business rates. This may be completely unworkable in rural counties with a high proportion of elderly people to care for, and the government desparately needs to rethink its strategy. More locally, our Council urgently needs to rethink its approach to the cuts, with more emphasis on investing in schemes which can generate revenue, and on working with the NHS to get a better deal for the elderly.