We could keep both the trees and the services if we paid more council tax

Tree felling is currently seen as a local dispute between the protesters and Sheffield Council, but I think the problem cannot be solved unless we see it differently.

Tuesday, 3rd April 2018, 14:56 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd April 2018, 15:01 pm

At the moment we see the protesters wanting every healthy tree to be saved and the council saying it will not spend any extra money on the Amey contract.

Presumably the council believes that extra money spent on saving trees reduces the amount it can spend on other services.

If we only see the dispute in these terms then it would be reasonable to ask protesters which council services should be cut in order to save the trees.

This question would make protesters uncomfortable. I guess what they really want is to save the trees and to keep all the council services as well.

Perhaps we could keep both the trees and the services if we paid more vouncil tax. An extra 1 per cent on council tax would raise about two million pounds a year and cost households on the lowest band about £12. But would this really save many trees and would people across Sheffield vote to pay the extra tax? If the trees cannot be saved with local money then it isn’t sensible to see the issue as a local problem. The problem needs to be argued nationally.

Incidentally calls for the dispute to be resolved by mediation also don’t make sense. The outcome would be some kind of balance between the number of trees saved and the council services that would have to be cut. I cannot imagine anyone being happy about any such balance.

Michael Andrews