I could not agree more with the letter you printed last week recently saying that Waltham Forest council is wasting our council tax money. There can hardly be anyone in this borough that wouldn't agree with that point of view. You can find instances of waste, mismanagement and even sheer bloody-mindedness everywhere, the "Pravda" news-sheet (aka Waltham Forest News) being a prime example!
Last year, I refused to pay my council tax on the grounds that a quarter of a million pounds was going to be wasted removing a perfectly serviceable cycle and pedestrian bridge in Marsh Lane, Leyton. The council's planning committee decided that the off-road "safe route to school" - a dedicated cyclist and pedestrian bridge over the Dagenham Brook for which local people had argued in 2001 - and a vehicle access bridge next to it, which had been strengthened and refurbished only a couple of years earlier, should both be demolished and replaced by a less safe mixed-use motor vehicle road bridge. Supposedly to improve the experience of entering Marsh Lane Fields. Never mind the safety of children, pedestrians and cyclists in a street heavily used by children who attend two primary schools, a nursery school and the nearby Lammas School! What a load of tosh! It cost a quarter of a million pounds, and involved road-widening and the grubbing up of a recently improved green area with long-established shrubs growing in it.
My council tax non-payment case went to court, and eventually an agreement was reached whereby I gave an undertaking to pay the council tax in full, but only after the bridge had been completed and signed off. Which I very grudgingly did.
I can only say that if I didn't consider spending a long period in prison such a useless waste of my time, I would probably find so many things our present Labour council does to be such a waste of money that I would end up refusing to pay them any council tax money at all. They just seem to have all their priorities wrong, and don't seem to care about the hardship many people face in this borough trying to find the money for all the bills that are heaped upon us, while they blithely spend our council tax advertising what jolly good fellows they are in WFN and giving themselves 25% pay-rises.
Incidentally, though Mr/Ms Cook's letter didn't mention it, it does seem a bit of a cheek for "Pravda" to tell us in a separate wraparound advertisement that council tax has been held where it was when in fact thousands of impoverished and vulnerable people have recently been made to pay it for the first time, and this year are having their contributions forcibly doubled. That is hardly holding the level of council tax where it was - in fact it is making the poorest pay to subsidise the better off! Whatever happened to the old Liberal ideal of progressive taxation? Oh, sorry, it's a Labour borough - I meant "from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs," which in terms of public money ought to amount to the same thing.
Katy Andrews, Lea Bridge Road, Leyton