Saturday 18th August 2018,
North Yorks Enquirer

Mr GOODWILL’s Response on Council Tax

February 11, 2018 Letters

Mr GOODWILL’s Response on Council Tax

On published an Open Letter to Scarborough & Whitby MP, Mr Robert GOODWILL, from Whitby resident Ian DIXON, under the self-explanatory title “Why Do We in Whitby Pay More Council Tax?”.

Mr DIXON has received a letter of response from Mr GOODWILL, who will no doubt appreciate the Enquirer offering readers the opportunity to benefit from his ineffable wisdom.

Mr GOODWILL would appear to be unaware that part of the challenge of meeting rising Adult Social Care (ASC) costs has been addressed by assigning it a separate precept. In a Freedom of Information response dated 28th May 2017, it was disclosed that the total spend on ASC in North Yorkshire in 2016/17 was £4,933,300. This increased to £10,156,530 in 2017/18. It is unclear how Mr GOODWILL can attribute the extraordinarily high Council Tax in Whitby to a precept applied proportionally throughout the County. In this respect, he does not appear to have addressed Mr DIXON’s question – “Why Do We in Whitby Pay More Council Tax?”.

The central paragraphs of Mr GOODWILL’s response refer to tourism, the ardent promotion of which he considers a proper pursuit of ‘the Council’, though it falls outwith the Council’s statutory obligation. Again, the tourism burden applies equally to all tourism destinations in the County; “Why Do We in Whitby Pay More Council Tax?”.

Mr GOODWILL points out that Whitby, unlike Scarborough, has a third-tier Council – Whitby Town Council – and this places an extra burden on Council Tax payers in Whitby. However, in 2016/17, for example, the Whitby Town Council precept was set at £236,540 (a whopping 77% of which was spent on ‘administration’), amounting to around £35 per Band B houshold. This figure pales into an insignificance appropriate to WhitbyTown Council when one sets it in the context of the massive disparity between Whitby and, at the other end of the scale, City of London – respectively £1,339.00 and £724.27 – a difference of  £614.73. (85% of the way to paying Council Tax on a second Band B property in the City of London, though there may not be too many of those); “Why Do We in Whitby Pay More Council Tax?”.

Mr GOODWILL concludes by conceding that Mr DIXON’s figures are “absolutely correct”, but nevertheless opining that, all things considered, Whitby is not being ripped off – or, if it is, then no more so than Newquay. But we still have not learned why we in Whitby pay more Council Tax. All we know for certain is that, in Mr GOODWILL’s mind, at least, no blame accrues to the second-rate Directorate at that glorified estate agents on St Nicholas Street – or that second-rate “former estate agent with a penchant for loud shirts and gold chains” – as SBC Leader Councillor Derek BASTIMAN [Con.] was described in the national press last week.

When presenting Mr GOODWILL’s letter to the Enquirer, Mr DIXON made known a number of his observations, which are presented directly beneath the following scan of Mr GOODWILL’s letter.

Mr DIXON’s Comments

It was interesting to read Mr Goodwill’s comments about Council Tax in Inner London and that there are more people in higher bands, paying the higher band Council Tax.
It was also interesting reading information I have found on the internet:
City of Westminster
Band H –  £1,376.28
Whitby
Band H –   £3,485.22
Whitby
Band B – £1,355.37
So basically somebody in a posh Band H property in the City of Westminster (£1,376.28) pays roughly the same as a Band B in Whitby (£1,355.37)!
In Whitby, we get poorer everything, services, amenities and transport links. So basically the overall average in London is far lower than in Whitby.
Again the Whitby Ethos – “Pay more, get less!”
Mr Goodwill’s comments about Tourism: Scarborough  Council chooses to promote Tourism to help the local businesses.
Well, a lot of us locals don’t feel any benefit from Tourism at, all with over the top prices and low wages.
My catchphrase for Whitby: “Champagne Prices, Lemonade Wages!”
A few businesses make a fortune – at the expense of the majority.
Our national Chain Pub, no name but you will all know it, near the harbour:
An example in price difference, taken from their own price lists
A Pint of Guinness
Whitby £3.69
York £3.15
Redcar £2.19
Our town centre supermarket is allegedly classed as a convenience stores, hence the sky-high prices.
I noted one item in the supermarket – a pack of sausage rolls, £1.79 – only £1.00 in the smaller freezer store.
One person told me that up-market Waitrose was cheaper than our town centre supermarket.
Mr Goodwill talks about the cost of travel; again, dearer petrol than other places, workers getting no help with tax breaks on their travel.
I was paying out £60-a-week to get to one job the other year, with no help – just paying more in indirect tax on fuel for rubbish roads.
Another point Mr Goodwill mentioned; our “democratically elected” Town Council.
How many are actually elected – and how many are co-opted onto the Council without standing for election?
Kind regards,
Ian Dixon

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