I listened to the IW Council budget presentation by the council leader and deputy leader last week and read their report. I detected a sleight of hand.

We did keep flipping from references to Band D properties (the average used to calculate the tax base) to Band C properties when talking about the increase.

We are told the council tax increase amounts to 55p per week for the general 1.99 per cent increase and 82p per week for the 3 per cent social care supplement.

Presenting the information in this way clearly amounts to a crude attempt at sugar coating to make it look more palatable to a public clearly viewed by the authors as uninformed.

The reality is different. Band D council tax payers will pay £1,751.25 in 2021-22 for the same services that cost £1,663.05 this year.

This increase amounts to over 5.3 per cent. We have to pay a separate charge to the Hampshire (and IW) Fire and Rescue Service. If we look at this new charge in isolation and compare it with the funding for the fire service in 2020-21 the increase amounts to 13.3 per cent.

The increase for Hampshire residents is 1.99 per cent. The council has scored a double whammy by giving away to Hampshire our fire service against the wishes of Island residents.

Not only do we no longer have local control over the service which will be run by a mainland controlled board but we are paying more for the privilege.

This is not the whole story. The Police and Crime Panel (under the chairmanship of our council leader, Dave Stewart) approved the Police and Crime Commissioner’s precept increase of 7.1 per cent.

Added to the above figures, the Band D increase amounts to £103.20 or 5.5 per cent imposed by Conservative politicians.

Turning to the parish sector, we have another outrage.

Since 2013, the government has received a grant to compensate for a reduced council tax base arising from being delegated responsibility for providing a local scheme of council tax support.

The government expects the appropriate proportion of this grant to be passed over to the parish sector and this has previously happened, but no longer.

In 2015, I successfully persuaded the council to continue paying the parish sector its fair share of this grant.

This was supported by the current leader and deputy and most other councillors.

This commitment has now been welched on despite the leader’s acknowledgement that the 2021-22 grant amounts £1.4m but the reduction in the council tax base is just £946k.

The result is that the parish element of council tax will more than it otherwise would be.

Lake residents are facing a 3.1 per cent increase in the parish element on their council tax bills, but the parish council is receiving no additional funding.

Taken alongside the seven per cent increase in bereavement charges, residents will doubtless wish to consider whether their best interests will be served by another four years of the current administration.

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