Pink Fire Pointer Long live Tatworth Spar!

Long live Tatworth Spar!

There’s nothing worse than being proved wrong, apart from the endless list of atrocities that are worse than feeling a small form of embarrassment. Getting caught reading the Daily Mail and indulging in righteous ignorance, is nothing compared being tied to a tree and told “You have a mighty pretty mouth...” for example.

However, when you think you've pulled off a scoop and subsequently have the rug pulled out from under you, well, that kind of stings. Especially seeing as the person pulling the rug from under me was one of the targets of my post. The post in question took several days to filter through to the right honourable wassnames of Ilminster Town Council, but when it did, one of them decided to correct me. Someone called itcjet in fact. Does that stand for Ilminster Town Council Emma Jayne Thompson with a touch of fat finger perhaps? We shall maybe never know.

According to itcjet, although no links to support his/her assertion were provided, only district and county councils have to hold a referendum on raises above 3.5%, town and parish councils can do whatever they want.


The BBC article that I read quoted "Any local authority in England wanting to raise council tax by more than 3.5% next year must consult the public in a referendum.”

A plain English guide to the Localism Act states the following:

Right to approve or veto excessive council tax rises

Local government derives a significant proportion of its revenue from council tax. The money raised through council tax is spent on supporting vital local services. But it is important that council tax is set at a rate which has the support of local people, and that their taxes are carefully managed by authorities on their behalf.

Previously, central government had the power to ‘cap’ council tax rises. If Ministers thought that local authorities were increasing taxes excessively they could stop them doing so. But we think that local people should decide whether to accept an excessive council tax increase.

The Localism Act therefore gives local communities the power to decide. The Secretary of State will determine a limit for council tax increases which has to be approved by the House of Commons. If an authority proposes to raise taxes above this limit they will have to hold a referendum to get approval for this from local voters who will be asked to approve or to veto the rise. This means that local authorities will need to convince local voters, rather than central government of the case for excessive rises in council taxes.”

I don’t see the line drawn between district, county, town or parish councils there, do you? But I’m looking for the answer and trying to provide evidence until I hit this piece of tub thumping from Eric Pickles:

“The Government are delivering on their promise to deliver a freeze, which is good news for council tax payers in England. The Government expect all local, fire and police authorities to sign up to the freeze and can see no reason why they might choose to do otherwise. Nevertheless, we will not allow these authorities to set an excessive council tax increase and are prepared to use capping powers where necessary. I also urge town and parish councils to exercise restraint and make sure no council tax payer faces an increased bill.

So you’ve been asked to show restraint and haven’t bothered because you can apply raises with impunity? itcjet’s comment was extremely disheartening. It equated to “the law says we can, we’re doing the job, if you don’t like it then stand yourself.”

I’m sorry, but first off, that whole why don’t you stand for election? nonsense just does not wash. It never has and it never will. We cannot all be in employed public service, someone has to pay the bills.

Believe you me, when you pay the bills every damn day, you don’t expect to have that money wasted on unnecessary crap, be sneered at and, ah Jesus. For Christ sake woman, stand up for your town!

Did you read that entire post or just the bit where you thought you had completely won the argument? Did the accusation that the Ilminster Town Council threw its collective ankles in the air and let Tesco have its wicked way, not bother you?!

No, it didn’t because the ITC let Tesco drop a carbuncle right in the middle of your town and you know it. You don’t think that pouring another load of concrete on to a perfectly serviceable green space, to appease a tiny section of Ilminster’s disaffected youth in an attempt to stop them smashing up the sight screens at the Cricket Club, could be put off until people could afford it? Really? You need to build this now?

Ilminster has a cricket club (a pretty good one so I'm led to believe, even by Chard cricketers), a football club, a decent sized rec and yet these are not seen as enough? Why the hell not?

I don’t even live in Ilminster and yet I’m incensed at the arrogance you and your cohorts are displaying. You know full well that the town is subject to double taxation so what do you do about it? Do you tell the public that the reason for these horrendous rises, is because District Councils are offloading some of their non-statutory duties onto Towns and Parishes in their area but keeping the money that they would have had to spend on these duties?

Ilminster have two district councillors and a county councillor. Are they not in a position, you know, having stood and been elected and all, to do something about this hideous disparity?

Face it, you're trying to justify a 39% rise which is just not on.

And what is that 39% for? The kids? The same ones that smash up the facilities already provided? More than once?

Amazing. There's every chance that the council tax payers of Illy would get behind you, if you would just put up a fight for them! Ask any Wolves fan, we'll take Terry Connor over any manager as long as he and the players look like they are giving it their all.

But you don't. You try and spin it to look as if the rises are necessary for the town and pee a few more grand of the public’s hard earned down the drain on projects designed to make you look like you’re all about the kids.

Vanity projects, councillor. That's what they are.

Given what I know now:

The mayor of Ilminster insists that the precept raise of 39% is supported by the majority of the town.

Town councils do not HAVE to hold a referendum on a raise above 3.5%

Town councils do not HAVE to deny a referendum either.

If you think you're right, then why don't you hold that referendum?

The bins, councillor. The bins.

Get the rubbish picked up, mend the potholes, keep the streets lit and protect the dwindling green spaces from men with nothing but pound signs in their eyes. That is your remit. Ilminster was a nice little Somerset town, why the rush to turn it into something it isn't?

And you! The Tale of Two Cities, why didn't you highlight this? Stop trying to fill space with marathon running grannies and be the Fourth Estate that Chard deserves.




Long live Tatworth Spar!



Apparently the Chard & Ilminster News have decided to go with this story for their main headline.

Colour me surprised.