“Community shares” to fund services – on top of Council Tax

Want to pay more money over and above Council Tax for local services?

According to Government information released yesterday, community groups and voluntary sector organisations are to be given “closer consideration when it comes to providing and running services” currently financed or subsidised by council tax payers.

Communities Secretary John Denham said yesterday at a meeting of council leaders and key third sector organisations that “the unique skills and community benefits of the third sector must not be overlooked by councils looking to improve” local public services.

Councils strapped for cash
However, any notion of third-sector inclusion mentioned by the Communities Secretary is clearly tied to plans for financing local services through “community shares” – thus spreading the burden of social spending away from national government and local authorities and onto those already paying Council Tax.

The post-recession Government line is that “the public sector is facing a period of constrained expenditure and that with philanthropic donations slowing it is therefore vital that community enterprises can raise their own finances. The strategic framework reinforces the commitment to explore new innovative ways to independently raise funds“.

Ways for ordinary folks to pay yet more for services?
Government news sources added, “Community shares could allow local people to raise funds to maintain or buy a stake in important community services like the village shop or local pub to ensure its survival. A football supporters club could form a co-operative to take over their team, giving the supporters a chance to purchase community shares and so have a say in its future.”

However, what happens to existing funding for less cuddly essentials, such as Citizens Advice Bureaux or homelessness projects, remains to be seen.

Viewed empirically, the intended outcome seems to be to:

  1. Allow national government to reduce payments and subsidies to local authorities, to;
  2. Force councils to concentrate on funding core and statutory activities (social services, emergency services, etc) whilst reducing spending from Council Tax accounts on social improvement or infrastructure projects (without reducing Council Tax bills?), and;
  3. Coerce Council Tax payers to stump up more money (but not call it “Council Tax”)

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UPDATE!!! North West Sheffield News Online has asked politicians for their take on the issues raised in this article and their responses are posted here.

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3 responses to ““Community shares” to fund services – on top of Council Tax

  1. I read that some say we are paying ‘the highest amount of tax’ and ‘ordinary folk are being screwed’
    As an ordinary person i would prefer to pay as little as possible naturally,but i do remember paying tax at 33% in my youth,then 30,25,22,now 20%.
    If ‘they’ could segment extra cash for specific purposes,not just add to the pot then i would pay more.
    I would pay 1p in tax to health,also to schools,also to the Police.
    I do think however that the money could also be spent/distributed more wisely and this should involve ordinary folk as they alsocan have good ideas an can spend money prudently.

  2. Its just another government scam to get more money out of ordinary folk who are already being screwed for taxes.

    Why is it that at a time when the people of this country are paying the highest amount of tax we are getting less for our money?

    It is our government who have caused this recession and brought disaster to regular families, it is our government who have failed to reign in the greedy bankers, what has our government done to the banks? nothing is what, the greedy bankers have got away with using money like a addict on a fruit machine, instead of punishing the tax payer the government should have not bailed out the bankers, If everytime the bankers loose vast fortunes and then dont get punished they will continue being reckless with other peoples hard earned cash.

    This idea just lets off central government from their responsibilities…..

  3. So, what should be a celebration of the role that the voluntary sector plays in building our communal spirit is being turned into an excuse for more local taxation at best or communities being expected to organise their own services at worst. Which begs the question what local authorities are there for. Surely this will just increase the social divide since the rich communities will afford more services. Seems like the government should be listening more to the health report out yesterday which talked about reducing community inequality.

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