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Politics in the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead

  • About David Burbage

    David Burbage MBE was Leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council from 2007-2016. This blog : Promoted by Geoff Hill on behalf of David Burbage and all other Windsor and Maidenhead Conservative candidates, all of 2 Castle End Farm, Ruscombe, Berkshire RG10 9XQ
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Archive for the ‘Tax’ Category

Council Tax to be cut by 4%

Posted by davidburbage on January 21, 2010

We announced our proposed Council Tax cut yesterday, embargoed until midnight last night.

I can do no better than link to the various online stories; I’ve an article published on the Blue Blog at conservatives.com , and a different longer one at ConHome.

The Borough press release is here, and the full story is in the Telegraph online although we got badly chopped in the paper (“dead tree”) version . . .

The most difficult question I’ve been asked, which was from Andrew Peach on the radio this morning, “so if you can do it, why can’t other Councils?”.  Not wanting to offend every other councillor in the land, I docked my answer into the safest harbour – and with justification – thanked our officers. After all, they will have to deliver it on the ground.

On the left is Cllr Richard Kellaway, my Lead Member for Finance, and on the right Cllr Alison Knight my Deputy Leader. It’s been a team effort throughout and big savings don’t happen by accident – with support from all of my Cabinet colleagues and Group members we have come up with a great result for residents. Special thanks go to Cllr Phil Bicknell for the banner, to Cllr Liam Maxwell for helping us with the Telegraph coverage, and to André Walker our political assistant in distribution of the news, far and wide. Hopefully our residents will notice!

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Posted in Conservative success, Council, Tax | Leave a Comment »

A very busy week

Posted by davidburbage on February 27, 2009

Monday was our pre-budget Group meeting with plenty on the agenda, and very well attended.

Tuesday was Budget Council. At 1.9% (the Libdems shamefully abstained) our Council Tax is set to be the lowest outside London in the entire country.

The Taxpayers Alliance came to visit and witnessed the passing of our motion that endorsed their, and George Osborne’s call for greater transparency in the public finances. The prop in the picture is the list of all of the Council’s invoices over £5,000 for January (and we are going to run the report down to the £500 level when it goes live).

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This photo is with Mark Wallace and Cllr Liam Maxwell

Wednesday we were lucky enough to be invited to talk to Shadow Chancellor George Osborne about our motion and how we’re likely to implement it.

golmdb1

Adam Afriyie and Theresa May joined us to inspect the long invoices list earlier.

Thursday was Cabinet where we passed the decision to pilot Recyclebank was passed and we hope to get that all going later in the spring.

And today I visited Hammersmith and Fulham and saw how their Business Watch operated in Shepherd’s Bush Market, and also discussed how they continue to cut their council tax by 3% a year!

Posted in Conservative success, Council, Tax | Leave a Comment »

Interesting local govt salary information

Posted by davidburbage on January 23, 2009

The Taxpayers Alliance has published information about middle management salaries at Town Hall rocketing. The headline is undoubtedly true and reflects the amount of money that NuLabour have put into the public sector – which can’t be easily argued to contribute to a vibrant and growing economy.

As such, it’s an entirely valid exercise to carry out. It is a shame that they colour the research with prejudice such as

“with many local authorities keen to ensure that data is continually presented in different ways,”

 

It’s inevitable that hundreds of different organisations will structure themselves differently. It’s not an excuse to hide information, though, but it definitely falls on the cockup side of the cockup/conspiracy test.

They also say

“Ideally, local authority remuneration data should be published on a central website accessible to all members of the public, thereby allowing straightforward comparisons to be made.”

So, hmm, let me think, who would pay for operation and maintenance of such a website? The taxpayer … ? But isn’t that what TPA is doing on behalf of taxpayers already (thus achieving the same goal at no cost to the taxpayer!). Yes, let’s have common standards, and yes, let’s make it easier for local authorities to be held accountable for their salaried expenditure, but risking the state bureaucracy and maintenance costs of setting up somebody to run a centralised database – which would have to be “secure”- let’s be careful for what we wish for!

 

Posted in Tax | Leave a Comment »

Banks Nationalised

Posted by davidburbage on October 13, 2008

I haven’t got the time to do this justice, but before the credit crunch began I would not have predicted this headline. Amazing.

No thanks to Gordon – it’s his regulatory framework that failed to curb the problems in the banks (and now the BBC are trying to give him the credit for implementing the Swedish banking crisis solution)

Bad news for UK Ltd

Bad news for UK Ltd

Posted in BBC, Labour failings, Tax | Leave a Comment »

George Osborne promises Council Tax freeze

Posted by davidburbage on September 29, 2008

Any Council that gets its Council Tax down to 2.5% will get Govt funding to bring it down another 2.5%

Good news, because it’s under this Conservative Administration at Windsor and Maidenhead, that Council Tax rose just 2.4% last year; if we had had the George Osborne rule, Council tax could have fallen in absolute terms (-0.1%) as well as it did anyway in real terms.

I’m also pleased he supports what I was saying yesterday about B&B Bailout.

Posted in Council, General, Labour failings, Tax | Leave a Comment »

For the sake of completeness …

Posted by davidburbage on March 18, 2008

Although I’m not happy that inflation is creeping up and prices are rising, I cast a wry smile at the news that February’s CPI (the Bank of England measure) hit 2.5%, which is higher than our February (for April 08-Mar 09) Council Tax increase of 2.4% !

Our benchmark is, and remains, the September RPI inflation figure which is linked to pensions uplift, but the fact that we’re also emerging to be under February CPI as well is a nice bonus.

Posted in Council, General, Tax | Leave a Comment »

Budget Blues for an unGreen Brown

Posted by davidburbage on March 22, 2007

What a terrible budget. Tax cut – hooray, in theory, but in practice Gord is hitting the poorer earners whilst taking slightly less from medium earners. For a Labour chancellors, taxing the poor more seems perverse, but if it increases the dependency culture (where those who depend on the State will not vote for any diminished support) it might explain it.

There are plenty of other places where the budget is dissected here here and here.

Posted in General, Tax | Leave a Comment »

Lyons Inquiry published

Posted by davidburbage on March 21, 2007

The full document http://www.lyonsinquiry.org.uk/docs/final-03.pdf 

published this morning makes interesting reading. Well, it does if you’re sad enough to be knowledgeable about local government finance.

He makes some points about the absurdity of some of Government’s Council Tax capping as follows :

Nottingham City Council was subject to capping in 2004–05. The implications of that year’s threshold for them could not have been known before the tax was set. However, the council was capped even though the cost of issuing new council tax bills was larger than the tax savings of £2.48 per band D household.

Also encouraging was that local councillors are more ‘trusted’ than newspaper journalists, MPs (in general) or top civil servants! We aren’t as trusted as ‘your local MP’, television journalists or judges, however. Work to do!

Posted in Council, Tax | Leave a Comment »

Black and White

Posted by davidburbage on March 6, 2007

The Council’s Financial Strategy.

Section 11 is “Specific Government Grants”. Section 12 is “Use of Reward Grant”

But Section 13 is “Council Tax” which begins – “Council Tax is the major source of revenue for the Borough and as such it is important that it is used to generate the maximum amount of income possible.”

ld_counciltaxbw.JPG

This, if proof were needed, in black and white, is the Council’s ambition – to go on increasing Council tax as much as possible. Indeed, if this were not sufficient proof, the Liberal Democrat’s Financial Strategy then goes on to talk about the level of future increases when considering capping.

It says “It is, therefore, the Borough’s strategy to calculate future Council Tax increases to be marginally below the anticipated capping limit ..”

ld_finstrat2bw.JPG

So when they say they want to keep Council Tax down, do you believe the rhetoric or the reality?

Posted in Council, Tax | Leave a Comment »

Visit to Wandsworth

Posted by davidburbage on March 1, 2007

Cllr David Hilton and I visited Wandsworth a couple of weeks ago to see how they keep down Council Tax to just £355 at Band D. Here is a photo of us meeting Cllr Maurice Heaster, their Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Finance.
Cllr Maurice Heaster, Cllr David Burbage, Cllr David Hilton
It was a valuable not just for the content of understanding their maintenance of a low Council Tax, but because the whole ethos of the place was so refreshing. The Members have their policies and they make it happen. If things aren’t working with a supplier, or with a Council department, then the Members change it up until it does work!

Wandsworth have managed to have zero increases in tax for the past three years – their overall bills keep going up because of Red Ken’s empire which is ever growing, though! It is true that they receive more grant, but they are stuck at the funding floor just like the Royal Borough.

For some reason our visit has occupied the minds of our local Liberal Democrats, who, at Tuesday’s Budget Council had obviously been doing (or had been given) research into current issues in the London Borough (as if this were at all relevant). Our grants are totally different, but we can use what we learnt in Wandsworth to keep the pressure on our Council tax more “down” than “up”.

Here is Cllr Heaster holding ConservativeHome‘s award for low tax.

Winning ConservativeHome’s Low Tax award 

Posted in Council, General, Tax | Leave a Comment »