Volunteers could get council tax discount

This Is Lancashire: Bury Town Hall Bury Town Hall

A MOVE to give volunteers discount on their council tax bills is being considered under an scheme supported by all three main political parties in Bury.

At a town hall meeting, Conservative councillors moved a proposal to “thank” existing volunteers, and encourage more people to start volunteering by reducing their council tax.

Conservative leader Cllr Iain Gartside called for a cross-party group to produce a package of discounts for “people who live and undertake voluntary work” in the borough.

In Trafford, a similar scheme is already in place for special constables, who receive 50 per cent off their council tax bill.

Cllr Gartside proposed to pay for the initiative by removing free meals for councillors.

He said people who run youth clubs and younger residents who organise computer skills classes for pensioners could be among those who would stand to benefit.

Cllr Dorothy Gunther, seconding the motion, said: “It cannot be a bad thing to investigate a system that will attempt to reward the thousands or millions of volunteers in this country who do so much for nothing and save us so much money. It is a way to acknowledge their efforts.”

The Tories faced questions from Labour councillors on how many hours of volunteering those eligible would have to undertake and whether they would have to live in Bury, volunteer in Bury or both.

Cllr Michael James added: “A cynic might say this motion is to go on Tory leaflets and make it look like the opposition are not quite as nasty as they may be.”

A Labour amendment moved by Cllr Sandra Walmsley replaced ‘setting up a cross-party group’ with “examining the option” as part of a wider range of initiatives through the Bury Volunteering Strategy.

This amendment was carried with support from all three parties.

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