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Saturday, 27 December 2014

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Cumbrian town councillors agree to almost double spending

Town councillors in Workington have defended a decision to increase their annual budget by a whopping 89 per cent, insisting that the money will be well spent.

Gerald Humes photo
Gerald Humes

The 30 member body – the town’s equivalent of a parish council – unanimously supported increasing its budget from £164,000 to £310,000.

The money will help fund a growing number of roles for the council, which now intends to employ its clerk full-time, as well as bring in another full-time worker.

 

The rest of a council tax bill is made up charges levied by Cumbria County Council, Allerdale Council and the county’s police authority.

Some local politicians who are members of Allerdale Council – the area’s district local authority – say they are appalled by the increase, saying it can not be justified at a time of general austerity.

But town councillors have hit back, saying the funding will pay dividends for the people of Workington.

Town council leader Gerald Humes said the role of the organisation is expanding so rapidly that it now needs to employ a full-time clerk and another worker to take on various roles, including making regular checks on play areas, back lanes, and nine allotment sites, used by 250 people.

The council has also set up a committee, which will organise a range of cultural and sporting events.

Mr Humes, who also serves on Cumbria County Council, said: “We want to serve the people of Workington better and we need to raise the money to do it.

“Everybody in Workington will be able to share the benefits of the things we’re doing. It’s a small price to pay for the improvements people will see and had unanimous support.

“The town council used to have a limited role, involved in things such as Christmas lights and Remembrance Day. They are valuable functions but we wanted to give people more.”

 

He said: “We’re only bringing the charge nearer to the average spend per head of other parish councils in the Allerdale area.

“We’re still way behind Wigton, Silloth, Cockermouth and Keswick.”

The town council must also now pay for the upkeep of offices in Workington once shared with Allerdale Council.

However, some Allerdale councillors were angered by the spending increase. David Wilson, who represents Aspatria, said: “It’s terrible, considering the recession and the way in which the people of west Cumbria are suffering.”

George Scott, who represents Wigton on Allerdale council, said: “There’s no way they can justify spending that amount of extra money. Allerdale Council has already added 2.9 per cent to the council tax bill because it wouldn’t take the Government’s money.

“Those people who put their trust in the Labour group to look after their interests must be gutted.”

Have your say

Funny how the times and star had to look as far as silloth and wigton to get some comments! Workington still pays half of what people in silloth do - what does david wilson think of that? If it creates jobs and a bit of investment in town Im all for it

Posted by John on 29 March 2012 at 14:02

I sent an email to the council two days ago asking for information, and they haven't replied as yet. Is there a list of Town Councillors on the Internet?

Posted by Keith on 29 March 2012 at 13:27

View all 13 comments on this article

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