Conservative-ran Swindon Borough Council are proposing to introduce parish councils in current non-parished areas, including West Swindon, Central Swindon, OId Town and parts of North Swindon.
Plans have been presented to councillors to increase the Council-Tax by around £140 over 3 years through these new parish councils.
In October there will be a report to Cabinet proposing a Community Governance Review which will be the first step to creating new parishes.
The Labour Group Leader, Councillor Jim Grant, said:
“We are very concerned and quite angry about the Conservative Group’s plans to introduce parishes across all of Swindon. Together with a year on year 1.9% increase in council-tax, we’ve been told the Conservatives plans are to set up parishes in order to raise council-tax by around £120 over 3 years for an average Band D house.
I believe they are trying to do this to get around the law which says that you cannot increase council-tax by 2% or more without holding a referendum. I also suspect the Conservative Group are trying to do this to avoid being blamed for what would be the largest council-tax increases in over a decade.
We’ve also been told that the administration cost of setting up these new parishes will be £10 extra per household. That’s £10 per household extra that residents will have to pay that will have no benefit to them compared with their services being delivered by the council.
The debate about whether to parish all areas of Swindon has only just started so the Labour Group hasn’t taken a firm position on these proposals yet, but I can’t see how we could support a proposal that will make the biggest increase of council-tax in a generation while setting up a new layer of bureaucracy of parish councils across most areas of the borough that is presently non-parished.”