I have asked SGC to outline their spending and revenues by year for the last ten years, broken down between business rates, council tax, central funding and all other revenues from fines, forfeitures and charges. It is my belief that the latter category now exceeds any other form of income - and some of the data they sent seems to confirm that. However, as expected, the reply was half-arsed, lazy, incomplete and wrong. They had not bothered to properly read the request or to adequately respond to it. But why break a habit of a lifetime?
I would attempt to to trawl their own accounts myself but they make a habit of varying the format regularly and using opaque terms without proper explanation of each strand of data. In effect, you have to be a public sectoroid accountant to make any sense of it, and that's how they prefer it.
The reason for such a request is that there is a referendum lock on all council tax increases, whereby if a council wishes to increase its revenue by more than 2% they must obtain the direct consent of the people. In the face of that inconvenient obstacle known as democracy, rather than obey they law, they have simply walked around it, and now leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of a quick buck - where no law shall stand in the way of their unbridled lust for the private wealth of the public.
I have asked SGC to properly complete the request but as yet have heard nothing - and don't expect to either. In light of this I felt compelled to do a little basic research of my own. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the chart below with it being based on my own limited extrapolations from the published documentation, but if these figures are true then it raises more questions than answers.
For all the protestations in the media of "cash strapped councils", we can see they are anything but, and in spite of a massive leap in revenues, most likely from dishonest charges and fines, they still manage to spend more than they steal. Do you recall consenting to this? I don't.
It is for that reason I consider it a moral obligation to delay and withhold council tax for as long as possible, and it is why I make it a point to make it cost them to collect it. So far this saga has involved the Police Commissioner, my MP, a senior official in the Fraud office, two senior plod, six junior plod, several recovery officers, a clerk of the court, an accounts manager, three magistrates, four bailiffs, three recovery officers, two police cars, a pursuit down the M42, a missing wheel clamp and a broken padlock - all over nine months. And I only just submitted the court appeal yesterday. This isn't over.
Yes, in the end I paid my council tax, but by my ready reckoning, it has cost the local authorities several thousand pounds to extract their £1178. As it stands presently, it will require six years or more of my council tax just to cover the costs of collecting last years sum - and it won't cost me a penny, whether I win in court or not.
So I say to SGC, it's cheaper all round if you actually investigate
bailiff fraud and insist that your contractors obey the law, stop ripping off the poor with liability order charges, and while you're at it, learn to live within your means and stop dishonestly evading the
democratic process. And if you're still not getting the message, wait and see what I have in store for you next year.