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Make Council council tax and spending plans available to the public prior to council elections

1 Comment 22nd July 2010

Council spending and tax plans only ever seem to be made public at a time when that particular council is not undergoing an election. This practice is completely unfair as the electorate are expected to place their vote without knowing what what they are necessarily voting for. Parties being elected to a local council should be under an obligation to publish this information aon the run up to local elections.

Why does this matter?

In publishing a "local council manifesto", the public can make an informed choice on their vote instead of allowing partisan politics to rule and councils getting away with blue murder.

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One Response to Make Council council tax and spending plans available to the public prior to council elections

  1. web user says:

    Puzzled by the opening statement because some of the budget proposals will be agenda items for most local councils in Feb/March for action in the following financial year from April. Much of this is openly discussed, though sometimes press and public are excluded for certain portions if the discussion covers competitive quotes and so on, where commercial confidentiality precludes it from public record/scrutiny.

    Council elections are routinely in May, and while a political party may adjust the overall spending plans, major portions of budget will have been allocated and cannot be changed.

    I suspect few members of the public have ever studied in detail the minutes or agenda for these budget related meetings, and one needs to absorb the majority of such documents before jumping to conclusions about “bad choices” being made.

    It’s difficult to imagine the different parties in the run up to council elections being able to put across how their proposed budget and those of other parties compares, and similarly I suspect many members of the public would feel lost in the detail, and may jump to incorrect choices if any misleading comments were made by one party about the proposals of another (without a debate about the pros and cons of every conflicting choice).

    By no means am I suggesting the public are unable to comprehend documents, but I really, truly, doubt many would make their choice based on 100-150 pages documenting the breakdown of PROPOSED spending plans for all services for the next year or two (and I suspect if a document was to be published, all parties would need to feed in their input and a single document be produced for the sake of fairness, clarity, and reducing the cost of distribution).

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