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Did March's Council Tax hit the Right Priorities?

April 26, 2020 6:28 PM
By Merilyn Canet

Merilyn version 2

Council Tax is a large expense for families. It pays for local services, which most of us use. But whatever priorities councillors had in mind when the tax increased significantly two months ago, things look rather different now.

Town, District and County councils are working very differently, providing normal services where they can, and working with the army of volunteers who have stepped forward to protect vulnerable people in our community. Our perspectives on what matters in caring for people have changed.

Medical staff, care workers, those who support the homeless and desperate, shop workers, delivery drivers and those who collect our rubbish are among the key workers. Some are poorly paid. The understanding that money no longer reflects contribution to our community should last beyond this crisis.

In lockdown, Town and Parish Councils are close to their communities. They are keeping parks open, and helping volunteers. Our District Council is maintaining vital services - and organising distribution of essential food to those stranded at home. Kent County Council's roads are getting a rest from heavy traffic, schools and libraries are closed, social services overworked.

When this is over we will all have a better idea of what's really important. We're learning how to help older and isolated people, and must budget for NHS / Social services properly in future. Support for young people out of school matters, and so does moving towards a Zero Carbon future. These are big issues.

I would like to see us truly sharing our resources to make a better life for all. Today's health and economic crisis makes a change in thinking essential.

Many are showing true kindness and care for other people; this shared purpose should guide our Council priorities in future.

Merilyn Canet