I FULLY agree with the protesters against a rise in the York council tax of two per cent next year.
On the last council tax statement, Coun James Alexander talks about the need for tough budget cuts due to central Government reductions in funding.
Council workers have lost their jobs – not only in York but across the country. The council collects approximately £75 million in council tax and the balance of expenditure is funded by various grants.
A two per cent rise in council tax will therefore raise approximately £1.5 million in extra revenue. At a time of austerity when so many people are suffering, our council is trying to impose a 20mph driving limit across the city at an approximate cost of circa £600,000, some 40 per cent of the council tax rise.
Supporters suggest that a 20mph limit is widely supported. Nobody I have spoken to supports this new limit.
According to the Department for Transport, in the City of Portsmouth, which introduced a blanket 20mph limit across the city several years ago, the number of casualties resulting in death or serious injury rose from 91 to 143 between 2010 and 2011 – an increase of 57 per cent, so the arguments regarding safety do not stand up.
Tony Taylor, Grassholme, Woodthorpe, York.
• IT IS disappointing that, instead of responding to residents’ concerns about another hike in council tax, which has already risen substantially in York over the past decade, Coun James Alexander has chosen to attack the TaxPayers’ Alliance for organising a protest against the planned higher taxes.
He accused the TPA of sending 49 Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to the council in the past year. The reality is that we have made around five requests.
We use FOI requests to find out how taxpayers’ money is being spent.
Without our research, readers would not have found out York council is spending taxpayers’ money subsidising trade unions at a cost of more than £185,000 a year. Your readers would not have found out the council pays staff mileage rates of 52.2p a mile instead of maximum rate allowed by HMRC as a genuine expense, at 45p a mile.
If Coun Alexander really wanted to look out for residents’ interests, he would take advantage of our research to find savings that can be passed on to residents struggling with their council tax bills.
Instead he prefers to raise council tax and smear those who oppose his plans.
Andrew Allison, National grassroots coordinator, TaxPayers’ Alliance, Tufton Street, London.