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Councils are at odds over local funding

Reporter: Ken Bennett
Date online: 11 January 2017

A PARISH council has accused Oldham Council of taking a "soft option" by proposing to reduce a grant which benefits local communities.

Pam Bailey, clerk to Saddleworth Parish Council, has written to Marcus Jones MP, minister for local government, after receiving a letter from Oldham saying the grant would be cut on a phased basis.

Her letter says: "The parish council believes Oldham Council has taken this action without any regard to the submission we made and the proposal has been made because it is a relatively 'soft option' for them which will only impact on a small percentage of the borough's population.

"Saddleworth, having a very high proportion of housing in the top council tax bands, generates more council tax income than any other part of the borough.

"The proposed action by Oldham Council is clearly a case of them wanting to have their cake and eat it without showing any regard to the residents of the parish who are paying the majority of the council tax.

Valuable

"I am writing to ask you to intervene in this issue and, like your predecessor, to insist that the grant remains at the current level to support the valuable work which Saddleworth Parish Council undertakes for its residents, businesses and visitors."

Under the proposal, the original grant of £39,490 would be reduced by £6,000 (15 per cent) in the next budget and finally cut to £13,490 by 2019/20.

In February 2015, Kris Hopkins MP, then minister for local government, wrote to the leaders of all billing authorities asking them to identify the amount of local council tax support funding attributable to town and parish councils in their area, ensuring an appropriate amount was passed on.

In August last year, Saddleworth Parish Council received a letter from Oldham Council, saying that consideration was being given to the withdrawal of this funding as part of its budget savings target. But parish councillors voiced strong objections.

Shaw and Crompton Parish Council will also be affected by the grant reduction plans.

Comments

This letter sounds ridiculous. Why should the rest of Oldham be subsidising grants for a Parish Council that doesn't represent them? As for the comment about Council Tax bands - congratulations, the majority of people who live in Saddleworth then have more money and nicer properties than the rest of us.

Me thinks the Parish Council doth protest too much - maybe focus on problems in their own back yard...

fernando The area pays an additional levy of tax for the parish council, as the letter states it provides most of the councils tax revenue, and now they are attempting to withdraw that little which they give presumably so they can concentrate it on areas which they favour (no guessing which ones they are!).

Shaw and Crompton always vote Lib Dem so its no big surprise they'll have their funding cut too.
It's becoming increasingly obvious that Oldham Council don't show any regard to anyone paying Council Tax in Oldham, and haven't for a number of years.

The Government has cut about £200 million out of Oldham's grant, since 2010 whilst Council Tax has been frozen until last year. Saddleworth Parish Council should be grateful it didn't have its grant cut years ago. The cost to Saddleworth homeowners will be negligible

About time Saddleworth Parish Council joined the real world . Losing £6000 per annum as a grant from OMBC is a tiny amount compared with the cuts Local Councils have had to manage over the last 6 years. There are must be well in excess of 6000 homes in Saddleworth so the average home will have to find less than £1 per year to make up the shortfall.

I have a better idea. Why don't we disband the not-fit-for-purpose Saddleworth Parish Council? That'll save us all a tidy sum!

Oldham Council once again showing its priority is maintaining dependence and labour votes in the non contributing wards around the town centre. Vile organisation. It would be nice if Shaw and Saddleworth could be moved into a new borough created along the lines of of the forthcoming boundary changes.

 

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