Wednesday, 19 January 2011

A Bit of Honesty Required Over Precept


The following letter was printed in this week’s Morley paper and I thought it was worth reproducing here.

The points made in the letter are correct of course.

The council tax precept is an additional tax that is levied on households within the Morley Town Council area. It is additional to the council tax paid by residents in Morley and throughout the whole of Leeds. Households that live within the boundaries of parish or town council therefore pay proportionally more council tax than household without parish or town councils. This fundamental truth is often forgotten, or, as is often the case, it is deliberately obscured by those with a vested interest in doing so.

With increasing numbers of local families struggling to get by and pay their bills every month, this precept will inevitable add to the debt of local households. As families become poorer, they spend less (and pay less VAT) and become more reliant on state benefits, so to try and portray the collection of a precept and its transfer to Leeds City Council as some kind of deficit-cutting measure is simply not credible.

Money is not ‘share’

IMAGINE the scenario.

You would like a new TV. You buy the TV and arrange to pay for it over 10 monthly instalments.

Then I come to you and say; “Listen, I will pay some money towards your TV.”
“Wonderful,” you think.

“Ah, but,” I say, “before I do, you will have to give me money on top of the cash you’re already paying.

“And I will use some of your extra payments to help pay for your telly and the rest I will spend on what I see fit.”

You would not think that I was helping you with your finances, I’m sure.

So the article last week entitled “Town council help for Leeds spending’ is, in gentle terms, inaccurate.

The £17,083 which Morley Town Council receives is not “their share of the city council tax revenue.”

It is a precept. A council tax for Morley which is extra to the council tax Morley folk already pay to Leeds.

This extra tax has been at approximately the same level for some years.

So the Town council is not helping to cut public spending. They have not ‘cut their cloth’ at all.

It is merely giving some of their income to Leeds for services the city council should already provide.

This is called double taxation.

PAUL JAMIESON
MORLEY TOWN COUNCIL FINANCE CHAIRMAN 2002-2007