05:04PM, Wednesday 07 April 2021
A Labour-run parish council has been accused of having no empathy after residents were landed with a hike in their council tax bills.
People living in Band C homes, the most common property covered by Colnbrook with Poyle Parish Council, will have to pay £50.02 towards the parish council’s costs this year.
This represents a rise of 13.9 per cent from the parish council precept charge in 2020/21.
Parish councillors disputed the increase during a full council meeting last night.
Labour councillor Andrea Escott, in charge of finance and policy, told the meeting that the parish council asked Slough Borough Council for the precept to remain the same this year.
But she said it had to be increased to cover a reduction in the amount of taxpayers across the borough due to the pandemic and the loss of an £8,000 grant from the local authority for the upcoming financial year.
Conservative councillor Puja Bedi responded: “We stand to represent these residents who have been through a really tough year emotionally, physically and financially.
“Why did we not take this debate and apply some empathy? Because our Labour colleagues don’t have any.”
Cllr Escott, who is due to stand at the upcoming borough council elections in May, told the meeting that no official motion had been tabled by the opposition Conservatives to remove the parish council precept charge for residents this year.
Cllr Bedi responded: “While I appreciate you say there was no motion or paperwork, where is your empathy in a pandemic year where our residents have been furloughed and lost their jobs?”
Ms Escott and parish council chairman Naveed Rana faced calls to resign at the end of the meeting from Conservative councillor Dexter Smith.
But both members rejected this request.
“I was democratically elected and Dexter Smith doesn’t overrule democratically elected members of this council.
“He just doesn’t have that authority or that power,” Cllr Escott added.
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