IN these times of economic stringency, I find it unbelievable that Huntingdon’s town councillors feel they can recommend a 7.42 per cent rise in their Council Tax for the coming year to enable the town council to fund areas where the Government has made cuts (“Town rate rise in pipeline,” January 26.
The areas to be funded are considered to be “fairly key to Huntingdon”. The town council is obviously not considering the possible outcome of its actions.
The economic situation has been recognised by Cambridgeshire County Council, which is attempting to freeze its proportion of Council Tax for the next five years, although this will have implications for many services, including the loss of some local buses.
Huntingdonshire District Council has also decided to freeze its element of the Council Tax for 2011/12, making savings by reducing some services.
Huntingdon Town Council is setting a very dangerous precedent. The county and district councils now know that they can cut services easily because, at least in Huntingdon, the town council will fund any services they feel are key to Huntingdon.
With the loss of some bus routes, will the town council fund these? For example, the 65 and 66 bus routes are losing well over £40,000 per year from county council grants next year, so will the town council make up for some of these grants?
While what the town council wants to is very laudable, in reality it could take on responsibility for funding other services that are currently the remit of the county and district councils.
So Huntingdon Town Council really needs to think what the reaction to its philanthropic ideas might be in other quarters before committing the local Council Tax payers of Huntingdon to heaven knows what.
MALCOLM P SMITH