LABOUR MAKES COUNCIL TAX REDUCTION A RED LINE
The Middlewich Town Council budget process has begun, which sets next year's council tax parish precept, and will conclude at full council on 19 December. Labour councillors have called for a reduction after last year’s “eye-watering” 30% increase, and have protested against the secretive nature of the official process by arranging their own residents’ budget meeting where members of the public can discuss how the town is run.
Cllr David Williams said, "This year Middlewich residents pay the second highest charge in Cheshire East, after an eye-watering increase which Labour councillors voted against. At the time we expressed our deep concerns and found it difficult to justify the expense to residents when the town has much fewer services and a lot less investment than others.
"I had particular concern about spiralling bills for the town's events, when I firmly believe they should be a source of income for the council, not expenditure; particularly the Folk and Boat Festival.
"We will have to see what budget proposals the ruling Middlewich First group bring forward this year, but Labour councillors are making it absolutely clear that we cannot vote for a budget that doesn't reduce the Middlewich Town Council charge. That is a red line for us.”
Cllr Jonathan Parry added, “After a huge increase in the precept in the last budget, I will strongly oppose any increase in this new budget. At a time when we have so many people struggling to make ends meet we should not be making them pay more. The town council is there to support the Middlewich public, and needs to support them by not taking any more money from them."
Cllr Williams concluded, "Last year I called for a public consultation on the budget, but that has not been included in the timetable, which is extremely disappointing. All town council budget meetings, except the final one, are taking place behind closed doors, with councillors bound by confidentiality and the public excluded. We don't believe this is a very open and transparent way of operating, so Labour will hold its own budget consultation meeting to give residents a say in town council finances."
Labour's Middlewich Matters Meeting to consult residents on the town council budget will take place at 7.30pm on Wednesday 26th October, at the Narrowboat Inn, Lewin Street. All Middlewich council taxpayers are welcome to attend.