I do love good balanced reporting

Over to the Express and Star for another installment of local taxation rises. This time with Walsall Council announcing a 2.94% increase which is heralded in the Express and Star with the headline ‘Tax rise lowest in area’.

There are two issues that seem to crop up in relation to this. Firstly that I questioned as to why the article on council tax rises for Wolverhampton only reported the ‘Band D’ figure and it’s good to see that the Express and Star have reported the actual figures for all the bands for Walsall but anyone would think the Express and Star were biased and I’m sure it would have nothing whatsoever to do with the political control in the respective boroughs.

However, and this really does indicate rather poor journalism in the use of the headline. Now I’m not exactly sure what the Express and Star determines to be ‘area’. Is it Wolverhampton and Walsall? In that case then yes, factually accurate but at lease from my perspective, if we are talking about comparisons then I would consider ‘area’ to mean the four Black Country boroughs (please, no arguments about the boundaries of the Black Country) of Walsall, Wolverhampton, Dudley and Sandwell.

This is strange because Sandwell Council put out this press release the other day.

Now forgive me for questioning the mathematically competency of your average Express and Star hack but isn’t 2.9% less than 2.94%?

That said and I’m sure like any other householder, the figure that’s really important to me is the bottom line actually cash amount.

I know I should do a nice table with all the bands in it but it’s late and I can’t be bothered so here’s ‘Band A’ as that’s what is of more concern to me in actually living in one.

Sandwell: £855.88
Wolverhampton: £941.52
Walsall: £948.94

Dudley don’t announce theirs till March 3rd so we’ll have to wait on them but it’s fair to say, Walsall, despite the nice headlines isn’t exactly the cheapest place to live. Let’s not get on to the quality of services either shall we.

2 thoughts on “I do love good balanced reporting

  1. Dudley’s budget may not have gone through council yet but we all know its council tax will still be a lot lower than Sandwell’s, and that’s without the massive extra amounts Sandwell gets from central government to make up for its incompetence. As Orwell might have said “Four stars good, two stars bad”.

  2. I don’t think the star rating system was around at the time of Orwell. That is of course if you give any credence to the system in the first place. My local authority (Walsall) has been getting lots of stars in recent years. Doesn’t change my view that they’re a shite council. (Note to self, threaten to take them to the Local Government Ombudsman tomorrow for maladministration, they might just do something then on an issue that they’ve been not working on since January), (further note to self, think of an use for the brown wheelie bin they sent me on Monday as my garden is only 25m square-ish and produces no non-compostable organic waste), (further further note to self, try to see if one of the only two people Walsall Council employ to clean drains [after they got rid of the others last year] can unblock the storm drain outside my house, only been blocked for the last 6 years).

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