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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 142

Date:- 06 March 2004

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"I WONDER how many other of your readers would agree with my feelings on our local authority and the cost of policing of our town.

I ask myself do we to continue to pay towards an ever increasing bureaucracy which grows ever larger each year. Council committees that suddenly appear for no reason other than another excuse for these over paid useless people claiming to represent the majority of our community. 

Recently I received a leaflet outlining what was claimed in expenses by these people. Strangely enough no itemization or generalisations of amount and a procession of monetary irregularities that raise questions as to where our local taxation is being spent. 

Councillor Byron claims in the region of £26,000 in expenses - three times more than the average wage earned in Southport. Among the mischievous anecdotes of his suffering business due to his council duties, I don't believe a word the man says, what person would give up his living to starve for what he considers to be a meagre amount that is claimed by him and which we the fools pay for. I very much doubt whether his business has ever suffered through his participation as a councillor in fact I would beg to differ. 

Local authorities are an aged and archaic system, which should be phased out altogether. Every year without fail our local taxes increase never do we see a decrease. We the people who pay should be asked what we want our monies spent on and so get rid of those positions and areas that we the public don't require. 

It is time that local authorities were completely abolished and government should take more responsibility for the regional areas. We don't need a regional parliament either, just another excuse for power hungry politicians that we have at local authority level already.

If people refused to vote for any of these money grabbing thieves that would be a huge statement to these people and would certainly make them look at what they are up to on our behalf without our permission. 

It is time for all the people of Southport to stand up and speak against those that force upon us rules and costs we don't want." 
  G.G Spencer, Southport. (Full address supplied)



AT THE annual budget meeting last night, councillors voted in favour of a 2.8% increase in council tax bills, keeping in line with the current trend of inflation rates. 

This will increase to a total rise of 3.6% when the police, fire, public transport and waste authority precepts are added. These are beyond the control of the city council. 

The figure is well below the average 6% rise across the rest of the country predicted by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. The budget includes a total of £6 million more for education, social services and Capital of Culture.

Council leader Mike Storey said:- "Over the last five years Liverpool has had an unrivalled record on council tax, and in real terms people are actually paying less now than they were in 1998. At the same time, we have gone from providing the third worst services in the country to being ranked as a good local authority in the latest Comprehensive Performance Assessment.

Huge council tax hikes hit the most disadvantaged in our city and they stop investment and people coming to live here, so it's vital they're kept as low as possible.

It is a major achievement for the city council, which is the biggest employer on Merseyside with 19,000 staff, to keep the rise to inflation when other council's across the country are being threatened with capping by the government."

The council is keeping bills down by saving £2 million from procuring goods and services electronically rather than using paper invoices and paying for postage; £500k from re-negotiating gas and electricity contracts and £250k from making better use of council office space.

The boom in city centre living is also helping to keep the rise low. There are now more people living in Liverpool, contributing an extra £3 million in council tax. 

Liverpool now looks set to plummet further down the council tax league table and is likely to fall out of the top 100 of high tax council's. Liverpool has an unrivalled record on council tax in recent years.

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