Your role in providing vital services

Cllr John Holdich
Cllr John Holdich

If you’ve not received it already, then any day your council tax bill be landing on your doorstep.

I know it’s not perhaps the most welcome letter you will receive, but the valuable contribution you and other residents make allows us to continue providing the vital services that matter to you, your neighbours, friends and family, writes leader of Peterborough City Council cllr John Holdich.

We don’t just empty bins and run the household recycling centre with the money that you contribute. It allows us to care for children and young people who need our care and support, as well as adults and the elderly. It allows us to provide housing for those in need, maintain roads, footpaths and green spaces, ensures the development of our neighbourhoods and city isn’t detrimental, and we work with schools to ensure our children and young people get the best start in life.

Our registration service takes the lead in births, deaths and marriages, we manage the cemeteries and crematorium and we support people of all ages to improve their health and live as long as possible.

I could go on, this is just a flavour of the breadth of services we provide for our 197,000 residents.

We couldn’t provide those services without the contribution that you make. And with our government funding being cut by more than 80 per cent since 2013/14, we are having to once again ask for more.

When you receive your council tax bill you will notice that it is increasing by 2.99% from April. That’s less than 75p a week for most people, roughly the cost of two pints of milk.

The increase in council tax will raise an extra £2.2million. This is vital money that will help us face this challenge and keep investing in our communities.

Despite the increase, Peterborough has the 8th lowest council tax of the 56 unitary authorities. We froze council tax four out of the last eight years, and our council tax bill is £383 lower than the highest unitary authority bill in England.

You’ll be able to find out more about your council tax when you receive your bill. You’ll also receive a booklet explaining how we spend your money, our priorities for the year ahead and how we are investing in Peterborough. Please read it carefully, and if you have any questions please do ask me.

It may still seem a little while off, but this year’s local elections are just around the corner.

Earlier this week, the council published a Notice of Elections, giving details of the wards and parishes up for election on 2 May.

In Peterborough, voting will take place for the election of 20 ward councillors and there will be eight parish council elections.

If you’re not registered to vote, there is still time to do so and ensure you can have your say on who will represent you on the council. You can register online before Friday 12 April at www.gov.uk/registertovote

There’s also lots of information on the council’s website including application forms for postal and proxy votes, polling station venues and what people should do if they suspect voter fraud. For more information visit https://www.peterborough.gov.uk/council/elections

This week also saw the start of a recall petition for the parliamentary seat of Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya.

The ten signing stations opened their doors on Tuesday morning and the petition closes at 5pm on Wednesday 1 May.

If ten per cent of those entitled to vote at a Parliamentary election, which is 6967, sign the petition, the MP would lose her seat and a by-election will be triggered.

Full details about the petition, the signing stations and their opening times can be found on the council’s website.

I was deeply saddened to hear of the terrible events that took place in Christchurch, New Zealand last week.

As a tribute to those affected by the attack, we have opened a book of condolence outside the Mayor’s Parlour in Peterborough town hall.

The book will be in place for the remainder of this week, so if you are in the city centre feel free to pop in and sign it.