I have noted before how councils consulting residents about where to cut spending have usually found a demand for extra savings to allow a cut in the Council Tax. This is using a tool fro YouGov which gives various options of where to reduce spending. I think it is rigged against choosing spending cuts as the screen puts up a warning that ending spending cut will mean a specified service cut. Yet the residents seem to have a healthy scepticism towards this claim.
In Labour-run Wirral there is a demand for a 3% Council Tax cut. The survey was backed up with a letter from the Leader of the Council to every household (delivered with voter registration forms).
Conservative opposition leader Cllr. Jeff Green said:
“The Leader of the Council has used the voter registration process to try and attack the government. It looks like this has back fired leaving him with egg all over his face. Most people recognise that the Council must make savings and that Council Tax is already too high.”
"The previous Conservative led administration reduced Council spending by £52 million, reduced Council staffing by 1100 and reduced the amount of spending on Council debt. It delivered a freeze in Council tax and increased the amount of money the Council had ‘in the bank’. It is clear that the public now know the Council can reduce its spending while delivering key services – I hope that this message has been heard loud and clear by the current Labour Administration.”
But looking at the results elsewhere Wirral is not unusual. There is an overwhelming demand for lower Council Tax – including in strongly Labour areas. In Middlesbrough residents seek a 5% Council Tax cut on average from their responses. In Gateshead it is 7%. In Wigan it is 4%. In Lambeth it is 3% as it is in Barnsley. In Kirklees the Council Tax reduction demanded is 12%.
But Conservative councils should also not delude themselves that their residents are content the Council Tax level represents value for money. Surrey demands a 4% cut. Plymouth an 8% cut. There are plenty more examples.
Around the country nearly 16,000 have taken part. I hope some of them will also become "armchair auditors" and get stuck into some of the other data on procurement spending and assets registers.