Ranting about rates!

The great rates debate continues…

Many of our followers have been trying, without a great deal of success, to understand the Adult Social Care element included in their recently received council tax bills.

One man’s efforts and his response from Waverley Borough Council are included below, but we respectfully suggest that you walk over to the fridge and pour yourself a very large glass of Sauvignon Blanc or your favourite tipple. Because if you can understand the explanation then you are a better man than me, Gunga Din! 

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Click on the link below for Waverley’s explanation when all will become clear…? 

Waverley Surrey Council Tax explanation 2018

Letter sent to Surrey County Councillor Wyatt Ramsdale

Sent: 22 March 2018 18:51
To: Wyatt Ramsdale CLR
Subject: Re: Council tax

Wyatt

I’ve attached a copy of a  letter I have received from Waverley.

Nowhere does it say on the face of the rate bill that the % shown for
Adult Social Care (ASC) is a percentage of last years total bill and that the
overall increase is 5.99%.

Everyone I have spoken to can’t work out how the increase in the ASC
is shown as 3% when it is obviously 64%.

In the world within which we, other Surrey and Waverley Coucil’s, live a % is assumed to relate to the corresponding figure on the same line from the
previous year, not another figure.

On a recent holiday, I was reading “The Hidden Reality” by Brian Greene
which discusses various theories of multiverses and importantly whether
the same physical and mathematical laws would apply to different ones.

I can only assume that somewhere on the flight I passed through some
sort of barrier into an alternative universe that employed a different
version of basic arithmetic.

It is clear that this presentation is to fool the casual ratepayer who doesn’t
check the maths that the Surrey % increase is 3%. A cheap sleight
of hand trick.

In two of the local authorities, I worked for I wrote the computer
programs for the production of rate bills and if I  had produced a table like
that on a rate bill the heads of Finance would have been horrified at my
lack of presentational ability.

  (we have redacted the name at the request of the resident)  

 

 

Is ‘Your Waverley’ going to ask us to name its future budget priorities?

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It’s almost too small to spot, buried deep in the council’s financial pages, but are the gurus at Waverley Towers going to spend £20,000 on a – “Community Engagement Exercise to ask US to determine its future ‘budget priorities because it is running out of money?

Is this the latest cunning plan by our council to make us all believe it actually gives a damn what we think? Is it really asking us, the council taxpayers, how our money should be spent? Presumably, this exercise has been timed to neatly coincide with the parish and borough council elections to be held in May next year? 

Us cynical souls here at the Waverley Web can’t help wondering why a council that has ignored the views of local people for the past four years, has suddenly decided that the views of the voting fodder are suddenly important.

Perhaps, we should tell them to hang on to our money buy some premium bonds with the £20,000? Then we can tell them exactly what we want at the ballot box?

Sorry, this is so small!

But this ‘one-off’ community engagement exercise in 2018/19 – at a cost of £20,000 is to ‘engage with Waverley residents and the wider community to understand budget priorities.’

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Another Waverley cover-up using smoke and mirrors?

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Hi Waverley Web,

I don’t know if anyone really looks at their council tax bills, however, I was intrigued by how a mostly 3% increase in most charges apart from Police and Crime Commissioner‘s 5.3% could result in an overall 5.5% increase to our bills. Enter Excel Spreadsheet, plugging in last year’s figures and this year’s figures.

Guess what I found!

The Adult Social Care element hasn’t gone up by 3% but by 63%. Whilst a £66 increase is not a large amount I felt a bit miffed!

How can this be… a mistake someone pressed a 6 and a 3 by mistake…… Rang the council and they are sending out a letter to explain only to those that complain!! Got a fudged story about 2 elements to the charge and the 3% increase only refers to one of them…. Can’t be right, can it?????

Thought you might like to be in the loop!!

Kevin.

P.S. Sent the story to Eagle radio station, Farnham Herald and the BBC Surrey…. Transcript below:

“I don’t know if anyone is looking into this or even if its newsworthy, the new Council Tax Bills have landed indicating mostly a 3% increase across most categories. However, my Adult Social Care charge has supposedly risen by only 3% as well although its gone from £104.06 to £170.65 which I worked out to be a 63% increase.

Whilst this is not a large increase in monetary terms (in comparison to the rest of the bill), it will see an incremental increase year on year. If the charge has justifiably been increased by this amount then my issue with the bill is that they are not being honest in stating the true % increase!

Upon ringing to enquire they appear to be giving a very unsatisfactory answer saying the 3% is indicative of only 1 element in the additional charge and that letters are being sent out to those that complain/ask about the rise. Personally I think they’ve made a mistake and rather than admit it (having to re-do everyone’s Council Tax Bill) they are trying fudge the answer to circumvent the issue!

I would be grateful if you could investigate the matter and publicise it such that those responsible are held properly accountable to those paying the bill.”

WW: Properly accountable! You can not be serious? ‘Your Waverley’ be properly accountable?

Nelson will get his eye back first!

Now here’s SCC’s answer​ to the county’s Surrey’s mounting pot-hole crisis!

Here’s what Surrey County Councillor Colin Kemp says:

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Well! There you are then!  Surrey residents our expectations are just too high! Get it?

But it is spendingScreen Shot 2018-03-11 at 20.40.55.png:

 

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Instead of planting flowers in Surrey pot-hole ridden roads. A new sub-aqua club has been formed!

 

 

Just a little conundrum on the council tax front – over to you Mr Controller?

What exactly is the true percentage increase we are all paying in council tax this year?

 

 

A little missive we have received from one of our followers – 

Dear Waverley Web,

I received my 2018/19 Council Tax Bill in the post today.

My bill indicated a total increase of 5.5% over last year, which didn’t make much sense because the various sub-components had only gone up by 3.0% to 5.3%, so how could the total be 5.5% higher?

So I got my calculator out along with last year’s bill and started checking it.

  • The first mistake was the Surrey County Council bit (excluding Adult social care), which I was told had gone up 3.0% from last year to £2181.50 this year (I’m band G in Farnham). Last year I paid SCC £2115.19, so the actual increase works out at 3.1% However, this error didn’t explain why my total bill was up 5.5%.
  • Second error – Surrey Adult Social Care, which I was told had also gone up 3.0%, last year I paid £104.06, this year I’ve been billed £170.65. This works out as an annual increase of 64%, not 3.0%!

Currently, I’m unsure as to whether the percentage increases are correct and the amount(s) wrong, or whether the amount(s) are correct in which case the percentage increases are wrong. I will contact Waverley’s Council Tax Team next week, to seek clarification on my personal bill (ie as to whether my Adult social care bill should be £170.65 or 103% or £104.06 ie £107.18), but I do wonder if there is a wider issue here?

Am I alone in receiving a Council Tax Demand that contains errors, or have other (even all) residents of Waverley received Council Tax Bills containing similar errors?

If the error in my bill has been repeated across Waverley – then Waverley may have to reissue all of its council tax bills!  However, they may need to go further and explain why they are misleading their residents over the real magnitude of this year’s increases! 64% is a huge increase, especially in these times of low wage rises. Maybe a 64% increase is justified (even I’m aware of the funding pressures on adult social care), if so then Waverley/Surrey should be honest about the real increase and provide the justification for that increase to its residents, rather than pretending that the increase is only 3.0%

Over to you (whoever you are)!
Mark

Thank you, Mark, for contacting the Waverley Web. We would like to ask Waverley Borough and Surrey County Councils to explain the rationale behind the questions that you pose, however, this is impossible as the Waverley Web is blocked from entering the council’s computer system! Can’t think why! However, we will forward your letter to a couple of councillors in the hope that we may get a sensible explanation.
It is widely known said that Waverley is not good at presenting anything numerical, as no one there can count! it mainly relies upon unidentified ‘experts’ and hopeful assumptions, irrespective of common sense or the law. It appears that they are long past the point of caring what people think.

More to follow.

Kind Regards, The team at Waverley Web.

Just in case you try to access the police website – s is what you get: You couldn’t make it up!tScreen Shot 2018-03-12 at 18.54.37.png

Tom, Tom – is the fight on…to reduce our council tax?

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Read the full Daily Mail Article by clicking below to read how East Hampshire District Council intends to abolish council tax altogether over the next few years! Wow!

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Published on another date we’d have thought this was an April Fool’s Joke …

Waverley residents can but hope that the new boy on the block, who has migrated from East Hants, will be bringing with him some of the revolutionary ideas they’ve employed there which has enabled them to freeze Council Tax for the past seven years and even aspire to – whisper it who dares! – eradicate it within a few years!

It’s not often we, at Waverley Web quote the infamous Bob Lees of POW, but in his immortal words, ‘The Residents of Waverley deserve better’! And if the councillors and officers at the Burys read this and take a leaf or twenty out of Ferris Cowper’s book, under the guidance of our new Chief Executive, Tom Horwood – who has clearly learned at the knees of a master – it could actually do better … much, much, much better!  Look, listen and learn Leaders, Julie Potts and David Hodge!!!

Yes Hodge the Bodge – Oh, Ye of the 20 county council tax increases over 21 years,  who said recently after announcing a 6% council tax increase and another 19m cut to its social care budget…

“SCC is not having a financial crisis, we are just facing more challenges.”

No pressure there then, Tom. The bar has been set by your former boss at East Hants District Council, and we, the residents of Waverley, expect you to live up to our expectations!

So, what are you waiting for? Get to it! And, ask your county council colleagues to take a leaf out of East Hants book too, instead of laughing and ridiculing them!

No wonder you left Tom.  It pays its present Chief Executive less than an ordinary MP, £60,000, and she actually earns £120,000 for running two councils!

Hee at the Waverley Web we are told you have already impressed the locals by ‘listening’ and ‘hearing’ what they say. Even taking their complaints seriously – so impress us some more? 

There are 14 people other than Joanna Killian The new Chief Executive of Surrey County Council,  earning more than £100,000.  She herself is in the first class carriage of the municipal gravy train on a salary of £220,000 plus expenses, which we expect are considerable!

We rest our case.