Council Tax & Incomers

This is pretty important.

We were all set to write a fluffy blog post for a Sunday afternoon about how we spent Saturday with the fluffy Colchester Greens at the Town Hall.

But that can wait.

Our good friend @marcde_ath alerted us to some of the election literature that he has been receiving in Castle ward where he lives.

As a reminder – the central Colchester ward will be one of the key seats when the next set of CBC local elections take place on 7th May.

It is currently held by the LibDems. But with Cabinet member Cllr Nick Barlow stepping down, the ward is wide open.

The Tories will be hopeful of taking the seat if they are to stand any chance of taking control of the Council next month.

Cllr Bill Frame retained his LibDem seat twelve months ago with 25.8% of the vote. Tory activist Darius Laws was an incredibly close second on 24.1%. Labour’s Ben Howard was a respectable third with 17.8% of the vote.

With Ben sadly also not standing for personal reasons, you can see how the Colchester Conservatives think that they are within a chance of winning Castle, and possibly the Council.

The LibDems have 25 seats, the Tories 23.

Heads up then to @marcde_ath for spotting something of an eye-opening pledge from Tory activist Darius Laws in the election literature:

“We also promise… make sure no-one can claim Council Tax benefits unless they have lived in Colchester for at least 3 years.”

Which all sounds suspiciously like the ‘benefit tourism’ [sic] that Colchester Conservative Leader Cllr Dennis Willetts referenced when he made his first car crash appearance at CBC Cabinet back in November.

We confess to being slightly caught up in all of the local election twaddle. We have slightly over-looked the General Election.

After calming down by drinking a milky cup of tea, we then wondered if this is Colchester Conservative policy per se?

More to the point, does the One Nation Colchester Conservative candidate Will Quince support the idea that anyone coming into our town – for whatever reason – should not be entitled to receive Council Tax support for the first three years?

And so we asked Will.

Twitter is never the best platform to put across policy points, but I think that we just about got there.

Well done Will for being brave enough to go on the record to state that he does support the strong views put on paper by Darius. We haven’t seen any sign of them yet in the literature that we have seen as part of Will’s campaign…

As ever, there is room for a little bit of manoeuvre. We hope that the ‘benefit tourism’ of Colchester Conservative Leader Cllr Willetts is just as flexible as the approach that Will is now taking.

The policy of not paying Council Tax benefit to any ‘incomers’ is controversial. @DawnHFoster over at The Graun explains why this is so with great clarity over here.

Refugees, people escaping domestic violence, folk from different countries coming to find a new life, only to then be made redundant – there’s no doubting that this is a tricky policy area.

We hope that Will’s flexibility is something that can be passed on to his Tory pals. Pandering to the UKIP agenda is not helpful to anyone in our town.

This is a great example of how residents need to hold to account politicians and their literature as we approach the election.

Ta once again to Marc for pointing it out to us.

Our friends over at are keen to document election literature. It has a tremendous value in acting as a record as to what each politician is pledging.