'Taxpayers losing out over Tory unitary refusal', says Cllr

Bucks Free Press: 'Taxpayers losing out over Tory unitary refusal', says Cllr 'Taxpayers losing out over Tory unitary refusal', says Cllr

TAXPAYERS are the ones losing out as Conservatives cling to power by ignoring calls for council mergers, according to a councillor in favour of the plan.

Wycombe District Councillor Gary Hall has accused leader Richard Scott and his Conservative colleagues of deliberately blocking a council-led study into the potential savings of forming unitary authorities in Bucks.

It comes after business interest group Bucks Business First announced it is crowdfunding a study into the pros and cons of abolishing layers of local government.

Cllr Hall says the announcement puts pressure on the WDC leadership to re-open the debate after voting down proposals to set up a task force on the issue.

And the independent member for Princes Risborough says with recent council cuts across the board, including the controversial county council grass cutting, those in charge cannot wait any longer to look at saving taxpayers’ cash.

He said: "There are some (Conservatives) that are in favour and will say it openly but the leadership blocks it at every possible opportunity.

"They do not want to lose power, that’s what it boils down to. The Conservatives are in power (at WDC) and they do not want to relinquish that.

"There is no money now, so we need to look at ways of saving money right now so we can start putting some of these services back.

"I totally support BBF’s study. Someone (at WDC) is playing silly beggars and the only people losing out are the council tax payers.

"The grass cutting problem is proof of this and a very visible indicator to people that something needs to be done."

The current council system comprises Bucks County Council, with four district councils (Wycombe, South Bucks, Chiltern and Aylesbury Vale) beneath it and also number of town and parish councils.

A unitary system would see county and district councils merge - although there are several possible ways such a move could take place.

Supporters speculate the move which some speculate could save as much as £25 million per year of public money.

BBF, which is currently funding an independent study, claims a conversation cannot be had on the subject until the evidence is clear.

Cllr Hall claims he was prevented from donating part of his allocated ward budget to help fund the study, as investigating unitary authorities is against council policy.

WDC’s own ‘task and finish’ group was voted down in January, with opponents citing the expense, lack of government support and unwillingness of other district councils to get involved.

And council leader Richard Scott says the council’s position has not changed, claiming the issue should be considered after the next council elections in May.

He said: "We are not in favour of looking at unitary authorities at this time, and our position has not changed.

"Next year we have got council elections but more importantly three of four years ago the government funded costs and transition which is not currently available.

"All councils, county and the four district in Bucks have kept council tax low and made savings in delivering services. There is no government support and that is something we must consider.

"I think today a full and comprehensive exercise looking at a number of alternatives will be quite expensive, and the cost will need to be borne by the authorities."

This year, Cllr Scott also ruled out a referendum to gauge support for unitary councils due to the expense.

Comments (6)

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9:52am Fri 27 Jun 14

Darren Hayday says...

Ironically as Bucks is a true blue area it would mean that the Conservatives will stay in power. However the truth is that Cllr Richard Scott does not want to give up power for the sake of saving the District a lot of money. The same is said for other Tory Cllrs not wanting to vote for change. They have been blocking this proposal for years now. If you still vote Conservative, why?
Ironically as Bucks is a true blue area it would mean that the Conservatives will stay in power. However the truth is that Cllr Richard Scott does not want to give up power for the sake of saving the District a lot of money. The same is said for other Tory Cllrs not wanting to vote for change. They have been blocking this proposal for years now. If you still vote Conservative, why? Darren Hayday
  • Score: 7

11:03am Fri 27 Jun 14

townraider says...

Interestingly Scott and Clark and other key opponents of unitary are all earning double allowances, expenses and salary from being on BCC and WDC . They are also getting extra allowances from holding additional posts

Perhaps this is about Greed and Power .. Two values i believe Tories hold in high esteem!
Interestingly Scott and Clark and other key opponents of unitary are all earning double allowances, expenses and salary from being on BCC and WDC . They are also getting extra allowances from holding additional posts Perhaps this is about Greed and Power .. Two values i believe Tories hold in high esteem! townraider
  • Score: 7

2:22pm Fri 27 Jun 14

Darren Hayday says...

townraider wrote:
Interestingly Scott and Clark and other key opponents of unitary are all earning double allowances, expenses and salary from being on BCC and WDC . They are also getting extra allowances from holding additional posts

Perhaps this is about Greed and Power .. Two values i believe Tories hold in high esteem!
Hitting nail on the head!
[quote][p][bold]townraider[/bold] wrote: Interestingly Scott and Clark and other key opponents of unitary are all earning double allowances, expenses and salary from being on BCC and WDC . They are also getting extra allowances from holding additional posts Perhaps this is about Greed and Power .. Two values i believe Tories hold in high esteem![/p][/quote]Hitting nail on the head! Darren Hayday
  • Score: 6

9:13pm Fri 27 Jun 14

redspellsdanger says...

Mr Hayday used to subscribe to Tory values and only left this party because of the Booker stadium proposals. He thought he would lose his seat as a consequence. How can you trust a man who has changed his mind and now seeks his fame as an Independent and will seek a seat on Wycombe Council next year.
Mr Hayday used to subscribe to Tory values and only left this party because of the Booker stadium proposals. He thought he would lose his seat as a consequence. How can you trust a man who has changed his mind and now seeks his fame as an Independent and will seek a seat on Wycombe Council next year. redspellsdanger
  • Score: -1

7:51am Sat 28 Jun 14

Darren Hayday says...

redspellsdanger wrote:
Mr Hayday used to subscribe to Tory values and only left this party because of the Booker stadium proposals. He thought he would lose his seat as a consequence. How can you trust a man who has changed his mind and now seeks his fame as an Independent and will seek a seat on Wycombe Council next year.
This is party true (ie the stadium) however I stayed a Tory till I had enough of National issues as well. I decided not to back the stadium, nor did I want to cross the floor. I decided instead to leave politics for a while and then came back as an Independent. I've now decided to stand again in Booker and Cressex (as an Independent) in next year's wdc elections. Either I shall be elected or I will not. Since I've come out of party politics, I see things differently. Yes I did believe in Tory policy once upon a time..then I grew up.
[quote][p][bold]redspellsdanger[/bold] wrote: Mr Hayday used to subscribe to Tory values and only left this party because of the Booker stadium proposals. He thought he would lose his seat as a consequence. How can you trust a man who has changed his mind and now seeks his fame as an Independent and will seek a seat on Wycombe Council next year.[/p][/quote]This is party true (ie the stadium) however I stayed a Tory till I had enough of National issues as well. I decided not to back the stadium, nor did I want to cross the floor. I decided instead to leave politics for a while and then came back as an Independent. I've now decided to stand again in Booker and Cressex (as an Independent) in next year's wdc elections. Either I shall be elected or I will not. Since I've come out of party politics, I see things differently. Yes I did believe in Tory policy once upon a time..then I grew up. Darren Hayday
  • Score: 3

9:16am Sat 28 Jun 14

Rodney Ranshaw says...

If the way the NHS has gone in our area that is to say (against the wishes of the local people) then just enlarging the authority will make decision regarding local amenities more remote and those responsible further removed.
If the way the NHS has gone in our area that is to say (against the wishes of the local people) then just enlarging the authority will make decision regarding local amenities more remote and those responsible further removed. Rodney Ranshaw
  • Score: -1

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