Tuesday 27th February 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

WCN: PRESS RELEASE re Whitby Town Meeting

December 17, 2023 Appeals, Whitby Town

WCN: PRESS RELEASE re Whitby Town Meeting

Whitby Community Network (WCN) has issued a Press Release in response to the Whitby Town Clerk’s stated intention to raise its Precept (that part of residents’ annual Council Tax bill that finances the Town Council) by almost 46%. Curiously, the percentage increase, as shown on the official draft Budget, is stated as ‘only’ 21.5% (last year’s increase):

This is clearly erroneous, since an increase from £283,560 to £412,625 is an increase of over 45.5% – with no discernible increase in services (which remain virtually non-existent). This hardly reflects well on Town Clerk Michael King’s arithmetical prowess – or attention to detail.

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PRESS RELEASE

Whitby Residents Up In Arms

Whitby Town Council wants its residents to pay almost half as much again, this is on top of a 21% increase in the Precept this year. For a Band C property paying around £50.00 in 2023-2024,  this  will be around £73.00 in 2024-2025, so a rise of approximately £23, but this is only part of the predicted council tax rise.

This was the proposal at the 5th December Finance meeting, even though no improvement in services are planned to justify these increases.

Is this the last straw for the people of Whitby at the time of a financial crisis?

Whitby residents have called a public meeting to allow people to have their say and suggest ways of making savings.

There seems to be a growing trend at this time of North Yorkshire Council’s “double devolution” to local councils, for residents to express their dissatisfaction, as happened recently at Thornton-Le-Dale.

Whitby residents are invited to have their say at the Town Assembly/Meeting on Tuesday, 19th DECEMBER 2023 at 6.00pm, in the Ballroom of THE ROYAL HOTEL, West Cliff, Whitby on the Town Council’s proposed 46% increase in the Whitby Precept (local Council Tax) for 2024-2025.

Previous Whitby Town Assembly’s have called for restrictions on holiday & second homes, the resignation of Whitby Town Council en masse to facilitate a democratic election, and a petition to the Department for Levelling Up, Homes & Communities (DLUHC) to halt and re-examine levelling up projects for the benefit Whitby residents.

All these issues appeared to have been ignored by all the relevant Councils, with Whitby experiencing major issues with:

  • housing for local people and key workers,
  • failing schools, including the closure of one secondary school,
  • lack of public transport, and
  • severe infrastructure problems with residents not able to park near their homes for many months of the year.

Residents have also expressed frustration that subsequent to a Town Poll in June 2022, Whitby Town Council promised a Neighbourhood Plan, yet 18  months later no progress has been made by the same body wanting further Precept increases.

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Regular readers may be aware that Whitby Town Council tops the list of North Yorkshire Town Council in terms of the extraordinary percentage of its Precept spent on Staffing Costs – a staggering 96.2% in 2022/23:

From 2009/10 until 2019/20, Whitby Town Council’s Precept rises kept pace with inflation.

But the onset of the COVID-19 “lockdown” period (when the Council was operating ‘virtually’) saw the start of an upward curve that has become logarithmic in recent years, with a rise of 21.1% in 2023/24 and a proposed increase of 45.6% for 2024/25:

Readers who share these concerns are welcome to come and air their views at the Town Meeting/Assembly in the Ballroom of The Royal Hotel, at 6:00pm on Tuesday 19th December 2023.

Please consider sharing the following link for this WCN Press Release to fellow electors of Whitby. Thank you.

Press Release LINK

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