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About ACT Our history and aims

36 years ago, in 1969, a small group of Salisbury people formed the SALISBURY RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION (SRA) to give local electors a voice in the administration of local government free from party politics, firmly believing that politics have no place at District level. As membership grew so did representation in the council chamber in the shape of councillors, members of the SRA, who were a respected and influential part of the Independent Group. As ex officio members of the Association’s Executive Committee, these councillors usually conformed broadly to the views of the SRA but there was never any pressure or compulsion for them to do so. The SRA and its successors always strove to represent the perspective of local people, unfettered by the often inappropriate dictates of party politics. A strong Independent Group can ensure that local government remains local. Sadly, that badly needed group, curbing the Council excesses, is diminishing today.

The long established name of Ratepayers had to change when Council Tax was introduced but many people continued to use the old name and still do so to this day. After much discussion and consultation it was decided to change to the COUNCIL TAXPAYERS ASSOCIATION (CTA). Then it became increasingly apparent that instead of being recognised as independent of the activities of Salisbury District Council, people thought we were actually a council department! The final straw was the listing of our telephone number amongst the departments of the Council in the BT telephone directory. It is still there today (2006) and nobody knows how to remove it!

.... The Association of Council Taxpayers (ACT) ....

Whilst considering a new name not too far removed from the old one, the constitution was also revised. This process too, was forced upon the Association by the refusal of the Council to allow CTA representation on Salisbury City Committee because the organisation was “political”. Unlike many of the other organisations invited to join the City’s “Parish Council”, ACT had no representation in the form of a delegate. The only reason for such a spurious excuse for rejection must surely have been the fear of having a strongly supported and organised opponent to some of the more spendthrift plans of the administration! That died with the revision of local government. The new constitution has ceased to associate its councillor members as sponsored or let themselves be described as ACT councillors. We have no longer have any anyway! Just as many other non-political organisations do, we will encourage and advise respected prospective councillors provided that they will be independent of any political persuasion.

ACT will continue to be the leading force in the protection of the interests of Salisbury District electors but that depends upon the support it receives from members and the public. It can operate effectively if just a small fraction of the 450+ members are prepared to help in some way. For most it means an hour or so three or four times a year but we also need others to watch various aspects of Council functions, investigate reports and check regulations. We have been challenged by barristers for not reacting to one area of council activities when our resources were totally engaged on another! Just a few people prepared to spend a little time to keep us on track are needed to fulfil our role.

It can often be interesting, sometimes amusing, but it will certainly be rewarding and membership costs ridiculously little for a year. Join us – please! # Details via our Email address

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