18 February 2009
Council Tax & Unaccountable Local Authorities

This year's Slough council tax rise will be 4.95%.

Since the Conservatives introduced council tax in 1993 to replace the hated Poll Tax, Slough's council tax has almost tripled to an astonishing 283%. This year's rates can be seen at slough.info/tax

On 16 December 1773 Americans staged the Boston Tea Party revolt against paying taxes and having no representation.

Today the police, the fire service and Slough Council levy their own council tax on the people of Slough yet the public are denied any say in how these organisations run their public services.

It is incredible that the police, the fire service and Slough Council are still not accountable to local residents despite the many tens of millions of pounds of taxes they demand every year from the public.

The Slough Party would like to see Police, Fire Service and Slough Council holding public meetings every three months, perhaps at the council owned The Centre, Farnham Road, to tell the public about their plans, their current problems and to answer openly and honestly questions from the public they are supposed to be serving.

At present none of these organisations allows the public to attend local meetings and ask whatever questions they wish.

Slough Council has 5 meetings of councillors every year. It demands the public do not ask questions at these meetings unless they write them down and hand them in more than a week before the meeting for approval by council staff.

Slough Council actually bans people working in Slough, running a business in Slough or attending school or college in Slough from asking questions if they do not live in the borough.

Residents that do live in the borough are banned from asking questions about many things affecting the local community. Instead the council demands the public ask only about council policies. This means the council can never be accountable to the public it is supposed to be serving even though the public pays the council's wages.

It is time for a change otherwise Slough will become a Mugabe-style democracy.

Paul Janik
Slough Party.