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OPINION | Should Herefordshire Council freeze council tax to help support families at this tough time?

It’s the question on the lips of thousands of local people, especially following the decision from Telford & Wrekin Council to rise rates by just 1% (to help cover social care costs).

An announcement from Herefordshire Council surrounding a council tax rise is expected imminently but many local residents will be fearing the proposed increase of 2.99% with increases to household energy bills, food costs and inflation all causing a ‘cost of living crisis’.

Councillor Shaun Davies, leader at Telford & Wrekin Council and Labour group leader, said:

“We already have the lowest council tax in the midlands for the services this council delivers.  However, we have made the decision to go one step further and commit to a 0% council tax rise for the next two years.

“We’re doing this because we know many local people are struggling with rising costs and uncertain months ahead.  It’s important to us that we remain firmly on the side of our residents during these difficult times.

“The government has assumed that all local authorities will put up council tax by 2%.  We have ignored this and believe we will be the only council in the region and one of only a handful in the country to be freezing council tax instead.

“However, the government expect all local authorities with responsibilities for adult social care to add 1% to the adult social care levy fund.  This will be identified in the council tax bill as being ring fenced to specifically fund adult social care.  This is the only element of the council tax bill that we will raise.  This 1% will cost the typical household 21p per week. 

“I call on those who have control over the other elements of our residents’ council tax bills such as the police and crime commissioner, the fire authority and parish and town councils to show similar restraint and discipline as us.  We must all play our part in helping families weather the storm of eye watering inflation and hikes in the cost of energy, food, rents, mortgage rates and fuel.

“A commitment to a 0% council tax rise for two years is a tough decision to make because it will cost the council £4.6m over the next two years.  Every penny counts when we are managing council finances but given people’s personal challenges, it is the right thing to do.”

Councillor Rae Evans, cabinet member for finance, governance and customer services (Lab), added:

“As a council we are firmly on the side of our residents, who have told us loud and clear that the past 12 months have been challenging for them in many ways.  We want to do what’s right for them by committing to freezing council tax for the next two years.  This gives them the reassurance that whilst their household and energy costs are rising, as a responsible and caring local authority, we are doing our best to deliver exceptional services without it costing them anything extra.

“This decision, subject to consultation, will lead to further tough decisions for us as a council.  However, our view is we should make those decisions in order to support our residents.  We feel that because of our careful and responsible financial management over the last 11 years we are able to help residents in this way.”

However the situation in Herefordshire is tough, with Herefordshire Council now receiving very little money from central government in comparison to previous years, meaning that increases to council tax and other measures like parking charges are critical to the councils budget.

NEWS | A street in Hereford is closed this weekend due to ongoing roadworks with delays expected

A street in Hereford is closed this weekend with delays expected.

Union Street is closed between the junction for Bath Street and the junction for Gaol Street. Work is being carried out by Western Power Distribution and the Herefordshire Council website says that roadworks will remain in place until the 27th January.

More details on road closures in Hereford can be found by visiting the Herefordshire Council website – https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/roads-1/roadworks

NEWS | Emergency services called to collision near Hereford with one person trapped in vehicle

Emergency services were called to a collision near Hereford yesterday evening.

The incident occurred on the A438 (Hereford to Brecon Road) at around 5.15pm. One person was trapped before being cut free by fire crews.

NEWS | Collision causes delays on the A465 between Hereford and Abergavenny this evening

A collision is causing significant delays on the A465 (Hereford to Abergavenny Road) this evening.

One person has contacted us to say that a car is on its roof and that West Mercia Police, West Midlands Ambulance Service and Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service are all in attendance.

The incident has occurred between Wormbridge and Pontrilas. Motorists are advised to use an alternative route for the time being.

More soon.

NEWS | Emergency services have been called to a collision in Herefordshire this evening

West Mercia Police, West Midlands Ambulance Service and Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service are all in attendance at the incident on the A438 (Hereford to Brecon Road) near Bridge Sollars.

The road is currently blocked and motorists are advised to use an alternative route for the time being.

More soon.

NEWS | Witness appeal after a woman died following contact with a vehicle

Police are appealing for information following the death of a woman who died after she was knocked over by a vehicle in Malvern.

The incident happened on Monday 17 January at 11am at a property on Graham Road. The woman was entering the vehicle when it rolled back knocking her over.

After being checked over the woman then carried on with her journey, but later collapsed and was taken to Worcestershire Royal Hospital where she died at around 3.25pm.

The car involved was a blue Nissan Qashqai. Officers are asking anyone who may have any information or dash-cam footage of this incident to contact 101, quoting reference number 414i of 17 January or report it online via our website www.westmerciapolice.uk/tua/tell-us-about/

Alternatively, if you have information but don’t feel comfortable speaking to police, you can speak to the independent charity Crimestoppers. It is 100% anonymous, they never ask your name and they cannot trace your call or IP address. You can contact them online or by calling 0800 555 111.

NEWS | Mayor of Hereford plants rare pear trees across Herefordshire

Mayor of Hereford, Paul Stevens, has been busy planting more perry trees across the County! These rare pear trees were facing a dark future of endangerment before the Mayor took it upon himself to make sure that doesn’t end up the case.

The first trees were planted at Brockhampton Estate, near Bromyard. A second set was planted at Ross Cider, and another at Holme Lacy College.

These will eventually blossom into fruit baring trees, giving the rare pear a chance to spread across Herefordshire.

The Mayor had previously worked on reviving the perry trees last year by planting at Little Pomona Cidery on Brook House Farm. A long time advocate and enthusiast of our County’s rich history in cider and perry, The Mayor was initially dismayed to hear that the famous perry trees were under threat. To prevent this from happening, Paul sought out Jim Chapman of the National Perry Pear Centre in Hartpury to secure scions for grafting, and approached Nick Dunn at the nationally renowned nursery, Frank P Matthews near Tenbury Wells.

Marking Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this year, these trees have been planted as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy project, a special invitation to all people to plant trees to mark the important occasion. Not only is this a fantastic initiative to get us outside and proactive, it’s also a boon for the ecological diversity and future of the UK’s environment.

FOOTBALL | Adam Hockey signs for Hereford Pegasus as the club pushes for promotion

Adam Hockey has moved to Hereford Pegasus from Hereford Lads Club, with the Old School Lane club announcing the news this morning.

Hockey’s signing will boost Dave Cadwallader and Mark Hibbard’s side ahead of some crucial upcoming games. Pegasus face a trip to Worcester Raiders on Saturday, with three points crucial if Pegasus are to keep any hopes of promotion from the Hellenic Division One West this season.

NEWS | Bird flu outbreak confirmed at a premises in Herefordshire with protection zone now in place

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 was confirmed in birds at a premises near Ross on Wye, Hereford and South Herefordshire, Herefordshire on the 20 January 2022. A 3km Protection Zone and 10km Surveillance Zone has been put in place around the premises. All birds on the infected premises will be humanely culled.

Details of the measures that apply in these zones can be found in the declaration.

AI – Protection Zone and Surveillance Zone – declaration (publishing.service.gov.uk)

The government has confirmed 69 cases of avian influenza H5N1 in England.

There was also 1 case of avian influenza in Wales where a small area of the disease control zones around this case extended into England. In addition there were 2 cases of avian influenza in Scotland where a small area of the surveillance zone surrounding each case extends into England. One of these zones has been revoked.

Temporary control zones in force:

No temporary control zones are in force.

Disease control zones in force:

Disease control zones no longer in force:

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

NEWS | Fire crews help to rescue person who was trapped in a vehicle following a collision overnight

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service crews from Leominster and Tenbury were called to a collision in Little Hereford.

One person was medically trapped and crews helped to rescue them and leave the person in the care of West Midlands Ambulance Service. West Mercia Police also attended the incident.

Photo Credit – Leominster Fire Station

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