LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Local Labour has passed ‘heat or eat’ buck on to Rotherham’s poorest

IT was good to see that one brave soul stood out against the council tax increase in the paper.

The author had far more to say than the collective opposition put together. Let’s be clear, this is a tax directed at working people and pensioners who have taken a real term cut in their pension, thus any rise in CT above 3.1 per cent is simply inflicting more unnecessary pain. It displays the callous and capricious nature of the shibboleths that control Rotherham and we should change the name from RMBC to the Rotherham Tax Authority.

In my opinion reasonable people would have expected an increase of no more than 3.1pc, the level of pay increases and the pension uplift. With inflation now at 6.2pc and rising, and energy costs up by 54pc for now, anything above 3.1 should be considered rapacious under these circumstances. Scrutinising the breakdown of the increase more closely, there are some items worthy of further comment.

I must mention adult social care, though at three per cent is not above the threshold, but is covered by the NI increase from April, a tax increase that Labour has so vociferously attacked. If further funding is required in the short term, they could have turned to their near £60 million of reserves they have recently built up from our taxes. It is not their responsibility to create mountains of cash as happened in the past. Auditors set a safe level for such reserves and it is nowhere close to this figure. Thus the issue of heat or eat is really with us and local Labour cannot pass the buck, showing scant regard for the hard-pressed working people and pensioners that they profess to represent.

All parish councils should have given their residents some respite with a zero increase and I am pleased that one has, but others should be sacked and residents should protest.

I reserve my harshest criticism for our PCC who over the past few years has behaved like a Middle Eastern potentate, increasing the precept well above levels of inflation, wage and pension increases. Without care, feeling or sympathy for those who bear the cost of his egregious increases, despite what he might say to the contrary, he does so again. “I’m alright Jack” comes to mind — on a big wedge, he brings nothing to the party. Not prepared to make any cuts of his own, he merely provides a rubber stamp for the chief constable.

At a national level it is their mismanagement and selling of vital assets, P&O Ports, vital to the domestic economy, that has cost the UK investment in jobs, taxes and control over the nation’s commerce. Yet again they try to blame others for their mistake.

Locally, it is their lack of enterprise that deprives us of additional revenue streams and leads them to what they know is easy. Raise taxes, driving hard working people to desperation.

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