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Lower council tax bills set for Stafford and Stone dubbed foolish by opposition

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: February 26, 2014

By Sarah Marshall

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COUNCIL tax bills will drop in Stafford and Stone but angry opposition members claim it is foolish and the savings equate to only a bag of radishes or a Frankenfurter sausage each month.

The borough council held a named vote on Tuesday and opted to cut its portion of the bill by two per cent after getting a cash windfall from the Government.

It means an average band D property will pay £147.72 from April 1, which is a saving of £3.01 from last year’s £150.73.

Council leader Mike Heenan said: “This is not a gimmick. When we came to power our promise was to keep council tax at or below the rate of inflation.

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“We have not cut services. This is not our money, it is the public’s money and we should be passing this windfall onto them and not charge more. We are retaining some of our windfall in balance to spend later if we need to.”

But Councillor Aidan Godfrey said: “This works out at about a £3 a year saving. But it means losing £129,000 a year of spending power of this council to provide services in the borough. People will not notice an extra £3 but the council will notice not having money to spend. It is not a political speech it is a fact.

“If things go wrong we can always put council tax back up but we can’t get back the money we will have lost.”

Councillor Jack Kemp dubbed it the “most stupid and foolish decision ever made” and Councillor Ralph Cook said: “I have worked it out and over the year each month with your saving depending on what band you live in you could buy a Frankenfurter sausage, an aubergine or some radishes.”

Councillor Trish Rowlands added: “We are living in a society where people can’t afford to put food on the table and the growth of food banks. This £3 will not do much over a year for those families.”

The county council, which takes the lion’s share of the final council tax bill, is freezing its portion, while the police and fire precepts have also been frozen.

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