What does Christmas and the proposed town council in Brighouse have in common?
The answer, they are ludicrously expensive.
Now let’s not get all Bah Humbug, Christmas is fun and purposeful – everything that a town council is not.
A recent survey concluded that over 70% of respondents either did not want or were unsure about the proposed town council for Brighouse.
Town councils are the lowest tiers of government with tax raising powers through a precept.
The proposal of a town council advocates that the funds raised through this precept are directed towards the local community it serves – populism is bliss, let’s take back control right?
The town council is being proposed with the best intensions, however the logic is fundamentally flawed.
It’s argued that we can compensate against the poor deal Brighouse receives from Calderdale Council by raising our own tax to spend on the area.
Yet here’s the irony, residents will be paying two rounds of tax for the same purpose.
Let’s elaborate, a town council’s precept would act as a reverse Robin Hood Tax, stealing from the already plundered to give it back to them.
Many are concerned that we do not receive our fair share from the council, but why should we pay additional tax to make up the difference?
Surely we should be campaigning for a better deal from the tax we already pay to Calderdale Council?
In actual fact, a town council cannot do anything that Calderdale Council does not already do.
Thus if a town council starts duplicating the services that Calderdale Council is doing, the logical outcome would be for Calderdale to reduce their service provision for Brighouse.
We would actually be paying more tax for the same level of services.
The final cherry on this fiasco sundae is that a town council’s precept is unlimited.
Calderdale Council’s tax rate is set at a maximum increase of 5.99% before a referendum is called.
This makes sense, without a restriction on tax raising abilities we risk becoming the Soviet Republic of Calderdale.
Yet a town council’s precept has no increase restriction.
This is not just a hypothetical scenario, in the period between 2013 and 2017, a council in Pendle increased their precept by an eye watering 870%.
Who knows how this debate will evolve.
I just hope that the people’s wishes against a town council will be realised.
On a somewhat brighter note, may I wish all Echo readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.