I am obviously totally naive. I assumed that our council tax was going towards improving the areas in which we live, not being invested in offshore accounts. The news today about the number of councils who have invested in Icelandic banks is especially annoying given the repeated increases in council tax which we have had no choice but to pay each year.
Put it this way; in Ceredigion (where I used to live) the council has invested £5.5 million in Icelandic banks. There are approximately 77,800 residents in Ceredigion with over 30,000 households eligible to pay council tax (according to the Ceredigion County Council Website). Lets say for a moment that there are 32,000 households paying council tax in Ceredigion at the moment. That means that for each household in Ceredigion eligible to pay council tax, the council have invested just short of £171.88 each in an Icelandic bank. And on their website they say that “The County Council has, however, spread its investments in accord with best practice and that sum merely represents the exposure within Icelandic banks“. Well excuse me, but how much do they have invested elsewhere? I am aware that the councils must needs have reserves and can’t be running the fund down to zero every month, but in this investment alone they have two months worth of council tax payments squirrelled away, and by implication this is only one in a series of investments.
Cardiff Council have not, apparently, got any money in Icelandic banks, but who is to say where our council tax is being hoarded while we are facing increases in their fiscal demands year on year? I have found an article on the Cardiff County Council website desccribing why our council tax is rising (a lot of our business rates are taken to pay for the rest of Wales; we are the third lowest government funded authority in the country etc etc) but I can’t seem to find anything describing where the ‘surplus’ or ‘excess’ is hoarded, and to what purpose.
Answers on a postcard please, to the usual address.