In their Extraordinary General Meeting held on 10 February, Thatcham Town Council decided to cancel the 2% rise in Council Tax precept that they had approved two weeks earlier. At that meeting, Liberal Democrat members voted unanimously for the precept rise while Conservative members all voted against any rise in the precept.
Conservative members have campaigned hard for West Berkshire Council to give Thatcham a support grant again this year. The necessary papers to obtain formal Executive approval for the grant have been published and will be publicly discussed at this week’s meeting. The full meeting of West Berkshire Council on 4 March will approve the budget and Thatcham will receive more than £36,000 in additional funds. This grant is three times greater than the additional revenue that TTC wanted to take from the hard-pressed taxpayers of Thatcham in their precept rise.
The EGM was held after a call from all five Conservative members of TTC. The motion debated in the meeting was brought by Cllr. Dominic Boeck (Con.), seconded by Cllr. Richard Crumly (Con.) and called for the Council to cancel the precept rise.
West Berkshire Council wrote to the Town Council and promised to make a payment in lieu of the Council Tax Support grant this year. Cllr. Boeck said “We didn’t think it was fair to our residents to increase the Town Council’s tax take when they are planning to spend over a £1million on swanky new council offices they don’t need and we were determined to push through the motion to cancel the precept rise”.
During the debate, it was clear that the Conservative position was unarguable and the proposal to cancel the precept rise was carried. However, Liberal Democrat members amended the motion to include harsh criticism of West Berkshire Council which led to all Conservative members abstaining from the vote. Cllr. Roger Croft (Con.) said “The Town Council asked for the grant this year and Conservative members got it for them. I am disappointed that the Liberal Democrats had to bring party politics into a simple decision to reduce tax.”
11 February 2014