Our Council Tax bill for 2019-20 shows that, overall, the increase is 4.7%, with the majority of areas restricting themselves to 3%. However, Whittington PC is to be complimented for keeping their increase down to a mere 0.4%. The outstanding exception is the Police & Crime Commissioners increase of 13.5%.
I know that there is considerable political noise surrounding the amount of money the Police are (or are not) receiving, and how much they are demanding, in order meet the increasing toll created by crimes of violence.
My concern is that we in rural areas seem to be subsidising the Urban areas where the greater part of crime takes place. In Whittington there has been no significant change in the pattern of crime since PACT (Police & Community Together) was introduced in July 2004. At that time our Police contact was PC Winder. This is what he told the PC about the purpose of PACT “Every month he will speak with a group of representatives from the villages on his patch to discuss topics and issues of concern and highlight priorities for the month. If speeding were the priority he would alert the traffic section which would then target the area.”
PACT hasn’t sent a representative to the bi-monthly PC Meetings in the last 5 years. They no longer attend the Pensioners Lunches in the Dragons Head each Tuesday. They no longer visit the village Hall Carpark in concert with the Library Van, every month. They do however do periodic “drivebys” where they enter each cul de sac in the village. They don’t stop and I haven’t a clue as to what they are looking at/for.
The table below compares the Council Tax costs for a Band F property in Whittington for the nine years 2010/11 to 2019/20. The dates are random in the sense that 2010 is the earliest year for which I have my copy of the Council Tax demand.
Before anyone dashes off a comment as to the increase for Whittington Parish can I point out that the Net increase over the 9 years amounts to £8.30, or less than £1.00 per year and even now the PC precept amounts to less than £1 per week. and that is Band F.
On the other hand, despite the reduction in PACT support for Whittington and the surrounding villages the contribution we have been asked to fund as far as Policing is concerned, is 37.7% which is between two and three times the other major service providers. Indeed it is more than 4 times the increase requested by the Fire Service.
My beef, which I have mentioned in these pages in the past, is that our properties in the rural areas of Lancashire are taxed at higher levels than the urban areas, because, for some reason, it is felt that our properties are of greater value and as a result are in higher CT Bands. On the other hand, I am not advocating an increase in crime, in order to justify the increase we are paying to Clive Grunshaw.