MR PENDLE: Buying mushy peas with my council tax savings

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this is the time of year when we start paying our council tax bills for the next 12 months.

And as a journalist who has regularly attended meetings down the years when council budgets have been decided, it brings a smile to his face when he hears of percentages being bandied about in terms of savings or increases.

This year, for example, Pendle Council resisted the temptation to increase its share of the tax by 2% and voted for a freeze.

Now 2% sounds like a big hike – but put in terms of pounds, or perhaps we should say pence – and it equates to barely nothing.

The majority of Pendle residents – those living in Band A properties – would have paid an extra 6p a week.

Those like Mr Pendle living in a band D home would have paid an extra 9p per week.

Similarly, Lancashire County Council trumpeted it had reduced its share of the tax by 2%.

Sounds good.

Makes a banner headline in the papers the next day.

But what does it mean to the ordinary man in the street?

Band A residents save roughly 28p a week.

And Band D residents save roughly 42p a week.

So between them, the two councils have saved Band A residents 34p a week, and Band D residents 51p a week.

Now the police authority has upped its share by 2%, so that will nibble a few pennies away from the savings – not that Mr Pendle minds paying the £3 a week he now has to pay.

And despite all the proclamations from politicians about how the tax savings are a good deal for people, the fact that when one adds the statistics up, the likes of Mr Pendle will just about be able to treat themselves to a tub of mushy peas with their Friday night fish and chip teas with the money saved says it all.

THE family history site ancestry.co.uk has said long established surnames such as Clegg, Kershaw, Sutcliffe, Butterworth and Greenwood are in danger of dying out.

That might be the case in some parts of the country, but evidence which can be gleaned from Mr Pendle’s circle of contacts and acquaintances suggests the opposite is the case.

There are at least three Cleggs (former and current councillors), two Kershaws, two Sutcliff(e)s, one Butterworth and several unrelated Greenwoods (from Colne, Nelson, Foulridge and Trawden) he can name.

So that suggests whatever ancestry.co.uk might have us believe, it is a safe bet that when the next census comes around in 2021, there will still be enough of the first batch around in Pendle to ensure their family names live on for years to come.