In the shy sunshine of the new tax year, just as we're adjusting to those increased Council Tax bills and telling ourselves it's OK because at least we get doorstep recycling collections these days, even if our bins are rationed, it's revealed that London Councils collectively wrote off nearly £50 million of unpaid Council Tax in 2007.
Councillor Adje, cabinet member for resources of the most owed borough, Haringey, sagely pointed out recently that "no one likes paying tax". He went on to reassure residents that council tax hikes this year would be minimal thanks to things like energy savings in council buildings of £300k. Woo. Nice one. They only had to write off a measly £6 million of bad debt, after all.
Redbridge, meanwhile, which only had to say goodbye to £3m, is running with its innovative online presence (Redbridge i: design your own homepage! have your say in our forum!) and engaging with its community to help decide which bits of land and property to flog off to raise £150 million to fund municipal development over the next 5 years. A dedicated consultation website is to be set up so folks can dictate local amenity trade offs. Schools or car parks? Swimming pool or allotments? In what is being billed as a "Big Conversation" (that old chestnut) the web survey will give Redbridge "an unprecedented degree of insight into what future people want for their borough". Unless it gets spammed to buggery, that is. Then it really would be, as conservative rebel, Cllr Harold Moth so supportively labels it, "a complete farce".
Image courtesy of le Korrigan's Flickrstream.