Boston Labour councillors are posing a big question: Should the law be changed so we can give council tax discounts to ‘community heroes’ who give their time voluntarily to improve life in our area doing things like picking litter, voluntary gardening projects, running voluntary groups, helping at food banks, volunteering in local communities and churches.
We believe that those who tirelessly commit to running voluntary youth clubs or give their time to regularly help the older people should be among those who would benefit.
The scheme would provide money for local authorities to introduce a ‘community contribution discount’.
Discounts would be set locally to take into account the needs of a particular area.
It would be targeted at those who demonstrate a sustained commitment to improving life in their local areas in a way which saves other council taxpayers’ money. For example, elderly members of society could have their quality of life significantly improved by volunteers providing regular company. This could help people live happily and independently in their own home long into their elder years, giving them a better alternative to costly residential care.
Society too often undervalues the contribution made by those who give up their spare time to help a local charity, a local youth club or provide a meal and a friendly face to an elderly neighbour.
The efforts of these community heroes do not just improve the lives of those they directly support.
In these times of austerity, they have taken the strain off stretched services and lightened the load on local taxpayers.
We need to do more to recognise and encourage people who give up their spare time for the good of their community. We could also consider free or discounted parking to volunteers.
Boston labour councillors