EFFORTS to end an historic unfairness between parished and non-parished areas across West Cheshire appear to have floundered.
Tory-controlled Cheshire West and Chester Council brought in a policy on April 1 aimed at tackling the inequity known as ‘double taxation’ which sees householders in parished areas paying twice for some council services.
Under the new regime, parishes continue to fund Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), Christmas lights and open spaces through a levy included in council tax bills.
But now they no longer contribute towards those facilities elsewhere in the borough – instead, non-parished areas make up the difference.
However, the council’s Conservative-controlled corporate scrutiny committee has criticised the policy, known as Special Expenses provision, calling for it to be discontinued as soon as possible following a cross-party workshop on the subject.
In response the Tory executive has agreed the issue needs to be addressed and that further consideration of the special expenses policy will take place as part of discussions around the council budget for 2013/14.
Labour leader Cllr Justin Madders, who condemned the policy on grounds of unfairness and lack of transparency, said: “I had the pleasure of attending the workshop and it was heartening to see such a unified cross-party agreement on a subject for a change.
“A wide range of councils representing very diverse areas, rural, urban, parished and unparished, all said exactly the same which is that the system is not fit for purpose. I do wonder if 20 members, with a diverse range of experience and areas that represent all, come up with the same thing, how on earth we managed to pass it in the first place.”