Desborough Council chairman defends 400 per cent tax precept rise

Desborough Council chairman Cllr Mike Tebbutt says the increase is neccessary to provide improvements as requested by the public.
Desborough Council chairman Cllr Mike Tebbutt says the increase is neccessary to provide improvements as requested by the public.
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The chairman of Desborough Council has defended a controversial decision to increase its portion of the council tax bill by more than 400 per cent.

Last week there was public outcry over the increase which was described as “insulting” by former councillor David Coe, whose precept rose from £19.10 to £96.98.

But Desborough Council chairman Cllr Mike Tebbutt says the increase is neccessary to provide improvements as requested by the public.

He said: “I’ve had a few complaints passed on to me by the council clerk and they have all been responded to explaining our intentions.

“The rise is absolutely justified. We are going to provide many of the things that people have wanted to see happen in Desborough.

“From information passed to the electorate we are committed to a number of things, including improving the town centre, sports facilities and provision of a new skate park.”

At a council meeting earlier this month, Cllr Tebbutt announced a programme for commencement in the next financial year as a result of the precept rise.

They included: Provision of leisure facilities in the Loatland ward, provision of a skate park, replacing a grassed area between the library and shops, provision of an outdoor gym in the Loatland ward, improving car parking in the town centre, improving and repairing the council office, introducing a 20mph speed limit in Station Road, tackling speeding in Rothwell/Harborough Road, improving the Pocket Park and improving accessibility to the council website.

Cllr Tebbutt confirmed that all of these would take place in the next financial year, but urged residents to check the council website when questioned over a lack of public transparency over the rise.

He added: “It’s not a question of a 400 per cent increase, it’s a question of making sure that the improvements can be paid for.

“The decision was discussed at a town council meeting but regrettably unless people attend the numbers at these are often quite small.

“We’re not hiding anything – we’re open to operating a transparent system with minutes made available to the public on the council website.

“Each year a precept is set based on projects identified as needed.

“The budget for 2017/18 will be discussed from October or November.”