Friday, February 06, 2009

The Snow - Best Place To Bury Bad News

There are reports today that council tax is expected to rise by 3.5% and the information has been accidently 'leaked' out.

A couple of things about this are rather smelly.

Firstly, this number comes from papers which are to be used at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday when a decision will be made. Surely no decision will be made about the final figure until the meeting? Otherwise the process is a farce if, behind closed doors, an agreement about the number has been made, the meeting would be rather pointless.

Secondly, when Shirley Ludford on Swindon 105.5 mentioned the story in a phone interview with councillor Nick Martin this morning, his response was, "oh, it's been leaked out, has it?" Now the cynic in me thought he sounded not-at-all surprised. But maybe that's the view you get of leaks of information when you've been in office as long as Mr Martin has.

Thirdly, is this a preemptive 'lets make the figure worse than it is, then come in with a lower one, the real one, to everyone's relief and be seen in good light for manipulating people's expectations' ploy?

Swindon Centric Says ; A genuine leak? An 'authorised one? A political spinning of the council tax?

Which one is it? We'll have to wait until the thaw to see what's under the snow.


komadori said...

Seems fairly odourless to me. Take the £3.8M increase in council tax proposed in the draft budget, subtract £1.1M increased council tax income due to new housing (that figure also from the draft budget), then divide all that by the £74.4M of council tax income this year. Gives a figure of 3.6%, which I think you’ll agree is close to 3.5%. So, no leaking, just a bit of digging amongst published council documents.

mockney said...

Thank you for the numbers, breaks things down simply, which is always a plus where taxes are concerned.