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Next audit will pass

The 18/19 precept was set at £1,330,062, this is a charge of £189.96 per annum represents an increase of £21.85 per annum or £1.82 per month.

This year we received less funding and had taken on services from SBC which include the library and services such as litter picking, grass cutting, flower beds and hedge maintenance.

During 2019/20, the council’s increase in its precept to was a lot lower, at three per cent, which in part was due to the high percentage increase in 2018/19.

We are presently looking at various options for the precept moving forward, in light of the audit findings however.

Stratton St Margaret Parish Council serves a population approaching 23,000.

There are currently 9,388 properties in the parish and 261 streets.

The parish council continues to serve the community through high levels of service for those in the large parish of Stratton St Margaret.

It also organises the hugely popular annual Stratton Festival, Christmas Extravaganza, Remembrance service and Community Carol Service.

For the preparation to transfer Grange Leisure to Parkwood Leisure we commissioned a more rigorous audit.

The subsequent report revealed a number of procedural weaknesses, but the audit confirmed that there was no evidence of any improper conduct or fraudulent acts.

The problems revealed that we had not followed best practices.

The parish council are on the way to improving the financial processes within the council as we are coming out of a period where we suffered with resourcing.

An action plan has been put in place to rectify the areas which need improvement, along with the changes already made. Therefore, we are confident that the next audit will be passed.

Stratton St Margaret Parish Council

We deserve better

There is a popular TV show whereby contestants are whittled away, one at a time, until, in a grand finale, the winner is picked.

Many readers may draw similarities between this and the contest to lead the country. There is one small, but crucial difference. Only around 125,000 people, all members of the Conservative Party, can vote. Many people think with local, Euro and leadership elections that they too will get a say in who leads the Government. Much will be said about the personal qualities of the contestants. The town’s two MPs both back a candidate who many believe to be untrustworthy of that great office due to past performance. Being thought of being something is probably worse than actually being something, in politics.

Of course, the real election is not about plaster falling from ceiling or lines of evidence of wrong-doing but about beating the opposition in the next general election. One of the contestants in the TV programme recently mentioned this facet of his abilities. We can expect much of this over the next two weeks.

What many people will be at odds to reconcile is that the contenders for the top office will be encouraging the 0.2 per cent of the population that policies of decency, fairness and social justice are to be opposed and they are best suited prevent this.

The present Government chose to impose austerity, chose to increase VAT to 20 per cent and by its incestuous infighting, is choosing to ignore the real issues in today’s society. While opiate addiction ruins many young peoples’ lives and prison offers scant rehabilitation and care packages for the elderly are ignored, we deserve much better.

Bob Pixton, Abney Moor

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