24 February 2017

This week proposals to raise council tax by almost 5 per cent were approved by Hertfordshire county councillors. Three Rivers District Council’s budget was also passed, including an increase in council tax. It is not clear what percentage that will be yet.

With shrinking local spending coming from the Conservative Government, local councils are being forced to increase council tax to protect key public services.

The Local Government Association estimates councils will face an overall funding shortfall of £5.8bn by 2020, £2.6bn of which is specifically related to social-care services.

However, this week it was revealed that the Rickmansworth Park foot bridge, which is currently being repainted and repaired, will be to the cost of £220,000. It has caused outrage among residents.

Rickmansworth Park Foot Bridge

Three Rivers Green Party member, Leah Jones, said: “Residents have the right to be outraged by this blatant overspending. We need to be sure that the council is providing the best value for money with more transparency on the tender process. I would like to know how many quotes the council obtained and how many of these were from local companies.

At a time of Government enforced austerity, there needs to be more scrutiny on council spending. This goes for staff spending too. Many councils are reducing public services but executive salaries remain high.

According to the Tax Payers Alliance, across the UK in 2015 there were at least 3,483 council employees who received total remuneration in excess of £100,000.

In 2016 The Chief Executive of Herts County Council was on a salary of £185,000 and the median earnings figure for the whole of the Council’s workforce is £27,309

Three Rivers Green Party have asked for clarification from Herts County Council that, at a time of rising council tax charges, there will be no salary increases or bonuses for senior management.