§ 10 pm
§ Mr. David Amess (Basildon)
I ask leave to present a petition signed by a number of my constituents in Basildon. They draw to the attention of the House the fact that, last year, Socialist-controlled Basildon district council imposed the highest rate increase in the country —57.2 per cent. My constituents are especially worried because, since the imposition of that increase, the council has continued to spend huge amounts of ratepayers' money.
My constituents are concerned about money that has been spent on area management and leisure facilities, and about the council's voting another £1.6million to subsidise the Towngate theatre to prevent it going into liquidation.
Finally, my constituents are concerned about the money that has been spent on the new civic centre. Last week the council spent £46,000 on sending every person in Basildon a Valentine card. The petition reads:Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your honourable House will urge the Secretary of State for the Environment to use his powers of influence to ensure that local authorities such as Basildon do not set excessively high rates of community charge, the average of which should be no more than £278, and if they do, that he should cap the community charge. And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c.
§ To lie upon the Table.