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> Surrey confirms plans to raise council tax by 15%, What would you vote if West Berks did the same?
blackdog
post Feb 14 2017, 12:06 PM
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QUOTE (On the edge @ Feb 14 2017, 11:10 AM) *
Fine. So, there is at least £48 million in the Government's safe just waiting to be spent? Being of simple mind, that must surely mean someone has been telling lies about this need for austerity or someone is going to be very unhappy about losing their grants and other government bounty. I wonder which it is?

NB - a consortium of big retaillers is presently heavily lobbying HMG to try and stop the transfer of business rates, fearful that local councils will increase the charges so reducing the attraction of High Streets still further. As if!


Not at all, it is currently being spent - what it means (or seems to mean) is that the Governement is going to have to find more savings or borrow more to make up for the loss of this revenue. The whole scheme is bizarre, it just happens that WBC look set to benefit from it.

In some places councils will be tempted to raise business rates to make up for past or future cuts in grant funding - I can't see that being necessary here (not while the Tories have control) - they could increase their budget by 25% and cut both council tax and business rates by 10%.

Not that austerity is really on the agenda any more - it is being swept under the Brexit carpet.
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On the edge
post Feb 14 2017, 03:36 PM
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QUOTE (blackdog @ Feb 14 2017, 12:06 PM) *
Not at all, it is currently being spent - what it means (or seems to mean) is that the Governement is going to have to find more savings or borrow more to make up for the loss of this revenue. The whole scheme is bizarre, it just happens that WBC look set to benefit from it.

In some places councils will be tempted to raise business rates to make up for past or future cuts in grant funding - I can't see that being necessary here (not while the Tories have control) - they could increase their budget by 25% and cut both council tax and business rates by 10%.

Not that austerity is really on the agenda any more - it is being swept under the Brexit carpet.


Yes, another manifestation of microwave politics, ....and we throw in a free toaster.

Good analysis Blackdog, but if you can see it, so can the Treasury wonks. Do you honestly believe they'll let the likes of WBC or Newbury Two Flagpoles Town get their little mitts on anymore than the loose change. I'd hazard not even enough to pay for a p*** in the Wharf Toilets.


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user23
post Feb 14 2017, 05:44 PM
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QUOTE (On the edge @ Feb 14 2017, 11:10 AM) *
Fine. So, there is at least £48 million in the Government's safe just waiting to be spent? Being of simple mind, that must surely mean someone has been telling lies about this need for austerity or someone is going to be very unhappy about losing their grants and other government bounty. I wonder which it is?

NB - a consortium of big retaillers is presently heavily lobbying HMG to try and stop the transfer of business rates, fearful that local councils will increase the charges so reducing the attraction of High Streets still further. As if!
Can councils set business rates locally? I thought rates were set nationally.
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On the edge
post Feb 15 2017, 07:29 AM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 14 2017, 05:44 PM) *
Can councils set business rates locally? I thought rates were set nationally.


Yes, they are at the moment. However, the business complainants have a fear that they won't be when the Government redirects the take. There is some logic behind their fear I suppose!


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On the edge
post Feb 16 2017, 09:39 PM
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Post truth hits Newbury

Daily Mail headline screaming about injustice to transferring business rate to Councils so that they can spend a lot more
Newbury Weekly News report says WBC are looking at making even more savage cuts.

Someone is telling porkies big time. Little wonder Joe Average has lost all faith in experts and politicians.




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user23
post Feb 17 2017, 09:24 AM
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QUOTE (On the edge @ Feb 16 2017, 09:39 PM) *
Post truth hits Newbury

Daily Mail headline screaming about injustice to transferring business rate to Councils so that they can spend a lot more
Newbury Weekly News report says WBC are looking at making even more savage cuts.

Someone is telling porkies big time. Little wonder Joe Average has lost all faith in experts and politicians.
I imagine they're both true.

Some businesses don't want to pay more tax which and if that happens they'll be less money for public services.
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On the edge
post Feb 17 2017, 09:38 AM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 17 2017, 09:24 AM) *
I imagine they're both true.

Some businesses don't want to pay more tax which and if that happens they'll be less money for public services.


Yes, that's right 'for the moment' and both are true. That's exactly what post truth is all about. The biggest lie, 'austerity' trumps both. How stupid that so many of us believed this Tory / LibDem untruth - cuts aren't and never were necessary. Good housekeeping yes, austerity cuts no.

(Businesses don't want to pay massively more, they've spotted the flaw, there is NO new money here)


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blackdog
post Feb 17 2017, 09:41 AM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 17 2017, 09:24 AM) *
Some businesses don't want to pay more tax which and if that happens they'll be less money for public services.

I don't think that's the case - as I understand it the total take from business rates is not going up - but the rates are changing to reflect the change in value of business properties over the last 10 years. So businesses in poorer areas where values have not risen much (or fallen) will be seeing their rates cut and businesses in places like Newbury, where values have rocketed will be paying a lot more.

They are supposed to do this rebalancing every 5 years, for some reason they skipped the last one.

WBC should apply to be part of the sweetner package pilot scheme the Govt has recently invented for Surrey's benefit and try to get to keep the business rates sooner. Then cut them back to 2016 levels.
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On the edge
post Feb 17 2017, 09:44 AM
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QUOTE (blackdog @ Feb 17 2017, 09:41 AM) *
I don't think that's the case - as I understand it the total take from business rates is not going up - but the rates are changing to reflect the change in value of business properties over the last 10 years. So businesses in poorer areas where values have not risen much (or fallen) will be seeing their rates cut and businesses in places like Newbury, where values have rocketed will be paying a lot more.

They are supposed to do this rebalancing every 5 years, for some reason they skipped the last one.

WBC should apply to be part of the sweetner package pilot scheme the Govt has recently invented for Surrey's benefit and try to get to keep the business rates sooner. Then cut them back to 2016 levels.


Mind, with business quitting West Berkshire right now it its likely to be an own goal!


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blackdog
post Feb 17 2017, 04:05 PM
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QUOTE (On the edge @ Feb 17 2017, 09:44 AM) *
Mind, with business quitting West Berkshire right now it its likely to be an own goal!


Bayer's departure will cost WBC about a million a year - but IKEA's arrival will make up for it!
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On the edge
post Feb 17 2017, 07:09 PM
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QUOTE (blackdog @ Feb 17 2017, 04:05 PM) *
Bayer's departure will cost WBC about a million a year - but IKEA's arrival will make up for it!


Reading are already grumbling to the Boundary Commission....


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user23
post Feb 17 2017, 07:22 PM
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QUOTE (On the edge @ Feb 17 2017, 07:09 PM) *
Reading are already grumbling to the Boundary Commission....
About Ikea?

Seems unlikely.
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blackdog
post Feb 21 2017, 05:43 PM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 17 2017, 07:22 PM) *
About Ikea?

Seems unlikely.


I doubt that it is specifically about IKEA, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if they want to extend Reading's boundaries to encompass all of Calcot, Tilehurst etc. - makes more than a little sense. Would be a massive hit to WBC's income, I wonder how much they spend in those areas?
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user23
post Feb 22 2017, 09:53 PM
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QUOTE (blackdog @ Feb 21 2017, 05:43 PM) *
I doubt that it is specifically about IKEA, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if they want to extend Reading's boundaries to encompass all of Calcot, Tilehurst etc. - makes more than a little sense. Would be a massive hit to WBC's income, I wonder how much they spend in those areas?
In the 2011 census the population of Reading Borough was 155,700 and West Berkshire was 153,822.

Given there's almost parity in population, simply redrawing the Reading / West Berkshire boundary seems unlikely.
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On the edge
post Feb 22 2017, 10:41 PM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 22 2017, 09:53 PM) *
In the 2011 census the population of Reading Borough was 155,700 and West Berkshire was 153,822.

Given there's almost parity in population, simply redrawing the Reading / West Berkshire boundary seems unlikely.


Population is but one element.


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blackdog
post Feb 22 2017, 10:49 PM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 22 2017, 09:53 PM) *
In the 2011 census the population of Reading Borough was 155,700 and West Berkshire was 153,822.

Given there's almost parity in population, simply redrawing the Reading / West Berkshire boundary seems unlikely.

Population matters for constituencies and wards, not for local authorities. The Reading arguments will be about the self-evident fact that Calcot is part of Reading, with little or no connection to Newbury. They've been arguing for it for years, perhaps they'll get there one day.
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user23
post Feb 23 2017, 08:57 PM
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QUOTE (On the edge @ Feb 22 2017, 10:41 PM) *
Population is but one element.
Reading and West Berkshire are but two.
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On the edge
post Feb 24 2017, 06:52 AM
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QUOTE (blackdog @ Feb 22 2017, 10:49 PM) *
Population matters for constituencies and wards, not for local authorities. The Reading arguments will be about the self-evident fact that Calcot is part of Reading, with little or no connection to Newbury. They've been arguing for it for years, perhaps they'll get there one day.


Quite so; and certainly with the austerity measures and some of the sillier outcomes, the cry comes up again. Local Government is an acknowledged disaster area nationwide right now and the only solutions the Government can offer right now seen to be temporary palliatives, as what's happening with commercial rates clearly demonstrates.


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On the edge
post Feb 24 2017, 07:43 AM
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One other old call, which would would be quite sensible to resurrect right now, would be the restoration of a properly unitary County level authority and if we must, retain tightly bounded parish level councils. Whilst that wouldn't deliver any saving in operational staffs, it should eliminate much of the now unproductive and expensive middle management. In simple terms, an administrative authority for an area the size of Berkshire only needs one Director of Education, and so on. It's screamingly obvious, but then so is the reason its not even in consideration.


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blackdog
post Feb 24 2017, 01:37 PM
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QUOTE (On the edge @ Feb 24 2017, 07:43 AM) *
One other old call, which would would be quite sensible to resurrect right now, would be the restoration of a properly unitary County level authority and if we must, retain tightly bounded parish level councils. Whilst that wouldn't deliver any saving in operational staffs, it should eliminate much of the now unproductive and expensive middle management. In simple terms, an administrative authority for an area the size of Berkshire only needs one Director of Education, and so on. It's screamingly obvious, but then so is the reason its not even in consideration.


There is a certain amount of this happening - I note, for instance, that West Berks building regulations are now handled by Wokingham. That said, the point about a 'Director of Education' is not as simple as you make out. We might for instance have a Director of Education and Children's Services in a smaller UA, but a Director of Education and a Director of Children's Service if we merged with a second UA. A bigger organistion does not necessarily have fewer staff to do the work.

Mind you with all the direction coming from Whitehall, I'm not convinced LAs have much of a role in education at all
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