MP: Taxes may have to rise to avoid council cutbacks
MP has this week said he believes taxes will need to be raised to
fund public services.
Heappey's comments have come in the same week that Somerset County
Council has unveiled proposals to cut up to 130 staff and slash
public services in a bid to save millions of pounds, as we reported
MP says: "The financial woes of our county council have brought
into sharp focus the age old political quandary of whether people
will pay more in tax in order to fund public services."
my short time in politics, Ive found that people will often
say that theyd be willing to but when elections come, low
tax manifestos win more support."
County Council did the right thing: Whilst wages were stagnant and
the financial crisis at its worst, council tax was frozen so that
hardworking taxpayers could keep more of their cash."
necessary as that was however, during the same period demand for
key council services like adult social care rocketed meaning the
council was being asked to do more whilst asking taxpayers for less
the same time, the Government in Westminster was grappling with
the same challenge. We were running a huge deficit and our national
debt was growing quickly."
the interest on our national debt is now the third biggest payment
the Government of the United Kingdom makes each year costing us
more than the defence of our nation and the education of our young
spending had to brought into balance and that meant some very difficult
decisions which included cuts to the money received by councils
from central government."
that is the utterly iniquitous funding formula designed by the last
Labour Government which works massively to the advantage of cities.
The Government has pledged to change this but frankly that hasnt
happened quickly enough and so its no surprise that it is
rural county councils like Somerset that are struggling most with
spoken in Parliament many times about the funding challenges we
face in Somerset and through my chairmanship of the Rural Fair Share
Campaign secured a commitment to recalculate the funding formula."
none of that changes that there simply isnt the money in Westminster
or at County Hall to deliver everything that people want unless
taxes go up. Ill be asking Government for more but I fear
well be needing to ask you for more too."