Finally finished Tom Clancy's 'Rainbow Six' - so I can return to the keyboard tonight. A good read, if a touch too fantastic - and perhaps one story line too many. Anyway, this post is about the 'Blue Six' - that's the intrepid Montgomeryshire Conservative representation on Powys County Council, where we now have six out of the thirty-ish total. Since we've not had any before last May, this is a new experience for us. They make me feel 'avuncular'. But there's no point in the existence of Conservative Councillors, unless they bring some blue thinking to the debating chamber. And today they did just that.
This afternoon, the Executive Management Board, decided on its Council Tax recommendation, which will go for debate at the full Council meeting, later this month. There was a range of opinions going into the meeting. The Powys Independent Group (PIGs) wanted an increase of 3.99%, Montgomeryshire Independent Group (MIGs) wanted an increase of 2.9%, The Lib Dems wanted an increase of 2.75% and the Conservative Group wanted to 'freeze' any increase at the level of inflation, which we believe can reasonably be considered to be 2%. The outcome was that the MIGs budget was carried, with the support of the Lib Dems and Labour. The Council's budget looks as if it going to be set by the MIGs, the second largest group, which is interesting. I was really pleased that the 'Blue Six' held out for 2% - and I hope an amendment will be tabled at full Council accordingly.
Setting the Council Tax level is never easy. A balance has to be struck between what Councillors believe they need to provide a service, and the ability of Council Tax payers to pay it. Well this year the majority of Montgomeryshire's Council Tax payers have less money than they had last year. There are speeches to be made about job losses, lower income from savings and anticipated inflation levels. We need to hear the 'Blue Six' on their feet, championing the cause of the long suffering taxpayers of Montgomeryshire. And Brecon and Radnorshire's 'Blue Three' can wade in as well.
UPDATE - I do want to point out that our full team includes three Conservative Councillors from Brecon and Radnorshire as well as the six from Montgomeryshire, and all nine were as one on this issue. I do try not to poke my nose into B and R matters, where Suzy Davies is our excellent Parliamentary candidate. And I was influenced by the link to the book I'd just finished reading. This update has been inspired by a comment from Jane.