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Leader's Blog - March 2019

Leader's blog Jonathan Morgan

The Council’s budget has been set and once again there are challenges ahead but overall Charnwood remains financially robust. We are planning to use a portion of reserves in the next financial year and we are raising council tax by £5 on an average Band D property. Increasing taxes is never popular but I think many will accept it is a reasonable amount, particularly over a year which amounts to about 9p a week. We had the 23rd lowest council tax rate in 18/19 out of 201 district councils and we will still have one of the lowest rates for 19/20. It’s also worth remembering the Charnwood element is only about one-tenth of your total council tax bill with the majority going to the county council and then the rest to police, fire and parish councils (or the Loughborough special rate if you live in town). I honestly feel we offer exceptional value for money.

While we’re talking about council tax, the bills went to all homes in the borough recently. We have included a useful leaflet warning people about the dangers of scams – online, over the phone or in person. There’s not a problem in the borough but it’s something councillors were moved to do in memory of our colleague Cllr John Sutherington. Shortly before John’s death last year, he was the victim of a scam, costing him several thousands of pounds. He shared his story to highlight how easy it can be to end up as a victim. With the agreement of his family, we have once again used John’s story to warn people of the dangers of scams. I hope it has an effect and makes people aware of the steps they can take to protect themselves.

I was disappointed to hear the news that Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College will be closing in 2021. It is an impressive facility and it has been great to have in the borough. The MoD took out a PFI on the land so it is tied in for some time yet and I am confident someone can make use of the facilities there. We will have to see what comes forward.

Local elections are being held in Charnwood in May and I’d like to encourage people to make use of their vote. The last chance to register is April 12 in time for May 2. We live in a great borough and have a bright future so if you want to be a part of shaping that future, why not stand as a candidate. Being a councillor is challenging, very rewarding and on the odd occasion quite fun. I’d thoroughly recommend it. As we head into the election period I would like to wish candidates of all parties the very best of luck. I’ll be back with a blog in May. I hope!

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