Cllr. Howard Roberts

Cllr. Howard Roberts

Saturday, 4 May 2013

On Thursday you did me the honour of electing me as your County Councillor. I am honoured and grateful. I look forward to working hard and getting straight to work.

Election Result Dunchurch Division:                                                  Turnout - 36.93%
  • COX Doreen - Labour Party Candidate - 161
  • HAZELTON Robin - Conservative - 988
  • MACGREGOR Ally - TUSC - 41
  • ROBERTS Howard David - Independent - 1488 - ELECTED
  • TUCKER Susan Margaret - Green Party - 75

Saturday, 30 March 2013


Farmers and stock keepers in the area have seen the destruction and expense brought by Foot and Mouth Disease Virus and Bluetongue virus in the recent past. These viruses have now been followed by the midge and tick borne virus, Schmallenberg virus.

Due to the possibility that the virus may bring significant production losses, I have written to environmental officers at the council to ask that they liaise with DEFRA to make sure that our farmers have the best possible statutory protection should this virus afflict their livestock.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

All Three Political Groups in Rugby Should Support My Budget Proposal

Last week I publicised my budget proposal to reduce annual Rugby Borough Council expenditure by £123,000. This idea would enable approximately a 2% reduction in council tax. Nearly three quarters of the savings I have identified are by reducing councillor allowances in line with other district councils in Warwickshire.

Taxpayers in the villages I represent are sure to question why the councillors who represent them are paid £1,700 more a year than the councillors who represent, for example, the nearby village of Eathorpe. There is no satisfactory answer.

No distracting claims over chief executive salaries or management arrangements explains why Rugby’s basic councillor allowances should be up to 27.7% higher than neighbouring authorities. So will the Town’s local political parties support my proposal? I hope so, and here is why my idea should command cross-party support:

-          - The Conservative party should be attracted to an idea that will reduce the tax burden of the Town’s population. It reduces the amount of money spent by the state, giving greater freedom to individual citizens.
-          - The Labour party should recognise that council tax is a regressive tax. It does not take into account the ability to pay. Ipso facto any reduction will benefit the Town’s poorest most.
-          - The Liberal Democrats should buy into a proposal that reduces council tax because the general thrust accords with their national animosity to this method of taxation.

I look forward to debating my proposal at budget setting. As a fully costed, tax-cutting plan that preserves frontline services I believe it deserves to be seriously considered.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Cut Councillors’ Allowances to Reduce Council Tax

Rugby Borough Council awards its Councillors over 20% more in annual allowances than any of the other district councils in Warwickshire. This fact has seen me propose a reduction of Rugby Borough Councillors’ allowances in a radical money saving idea. Equalisation of allowances in line with the levels of other councils would raise enough money to cut resident’s borough council tax bills by around 1.5%.

Councillor allowances have historically been set by an independent remuneration panel. I think Council should take the initiative and reduce the current basic allowance from £6,227 to £4,500 at the annual budget meeting in February. By statute the council has freedom to set the allowance level – with reference to independent review. In 2010 the allowances were reviewed and in the independent report mention was made of the difference between Rugby Borough Council’s basic allowances and that of neighbouring councils. 

The Councils of Nuneaton, Stratford, Warwick and North Warwickshire annually pay their councillors around £1700 less for doing the same job as councillors in Rugby. This anomaly could easily be rectified, allowing Rugby Borough Council to reduce council tax by 1.5%.

If we can use this saving to cut council tax I believe it would be appreciated by many in the Borough. As wages remain static while retail prices increase, any reduction in household expenditure will be welcomed.

In my plan Rugby Borough Council allowances reduced to £4,500, with any special responsibility allowances paid to councillors in executive positions reduced by the same percentage (27.7%).

The public endlessly hear council officials talk about reducing back office costs without hitting frontline services – this proposal does exactly that. We can reduce our allowances to the level of our neighbouring councils - whose members are just as qualified - and save enough money to give Rugby residents a cut in their annual council tax bill.

Any argument that states the council will lose good councillors if we reduce allowances belittles the hard working and intelligent councillors of other towns in Warwickshire. They work just as hard as we do – but get a smaller allowance. This is because they recognise being a councillor shouldn’t be about the financial reward, it should be about the reward of public service.


1.     Basic Allowances of the other district councils in Warwickshire:
Nuneaton Borough Council                             £4,734,
Stratford District Council                                £4,500,
Warwick District Council                                £4,631,
North Warwickshire Borough Council            £4,942,
Rugby Borough Council                                  £6,227.

2.    The current proposed Council Tax Base (how much RBC will receive from taxes is £6,210,000. The total savings that I will propose in my budget amendment are £123,232. This would be a reduction in required council tax of 1.98%.

Sunday, 30 December 2012


I would like to place on record my thanks to all of the staff at Warwickshire County Council and Rugby Borough Council for their hard work and dedication over this past year. I also salute the numerous volunteers who tirelessly donate their time and effort to our communities.

The combination of council employees and community activism means that Rugby enjoys remarkable services throughout the seasons. It is a pleasure to hear enthusiastic reports from residents who enjoy a level of service that often surpasses their expectations.

I wish everyone in Rugby and the surrounding villages a happy Christmas and prosperous 2013.

Friday, 14 December 2012


Re: Plans submitted to build 50 properties on Rugby Road, Dunchurch

The council’s Planning Office has received an application from agents acting on behalf of Bilton Grange Preparatory School. The submission applies for permission to build 50 properties on the field adjacent to the school’s drive on Rugby Road. Everybody in Dunchurch should be alarmed by this proposed development. I am encouraging villagers to join me in a campaign to fight the plans.

This development would obliterate a green space important to the village. Furthermore, it would blur the delineation between Rugby and Dunchurch and increase traffic onto Rugby Road, Northampton Lane and Cawston Lane, especially at peak times. Parking in the village, already a problem, would become more difficult and local amenities would be stretched at a time of cutbacks.

In addition to these immediate problems, the broader future of Dunchurch is threatened. Residents enjoy living in an independent village, separate from Rugby and with a distinct identity. If this development is approved, the precedent for building on green spaces in Dunchurch will have been set.

Once  development has taken place on Rugby Road, we could easily expect developers to target the fields opposite existing homes on Cawston Lane and Northampton Lane.  Dunchurch could also be expanded in a South-Westerly direction, in the area of Sandford Way and Southam Road. This would see Dunchurch rapidly increase in size, becoming an extension of Bilton to the North and Cawston to the West.

This is very real threat: the government has recently legislated to liberalise national planning laws. Community action is therefore more important than ever.

I urge villagers to join our campaign to fight this development by signing the petition that will shortly be circulated. It would also be very valuable if you could write with your objections to Rugby Borough Council’s planning department. In my role as Borough Councillor I will be making waves in the council chamber and lobbying for refusal. I will keep you updated with any news.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

A Review of the Police Commissioner Debate

From left to right: Alan Stothard, James Plaskitt, Ron Ball, Fraser Pithie and Howard Roberts.

 On Wednesday 31st October I was delighted to host a debate between the three candidates vying for the post of Warwickshire's first Police and Crime Commissioner:  Ron Ball (Independent), James Plaskitt (Labour) and Frase Pithie (Conservative).

The meeting was held in Dunchurch Village Hall. Despite poor weather the candidates commented that the turnout of around 150 was the largest they had addressed so far in the campaign.

The meeting was expertly chaired by Mr. Alan Stothard, Dunchurch resident and chairman of the standards committee at Rugby Town Hall.

Questions ranged from how to finance the police, how to tackle rural crime, whether the post will be free from partisan influence, how to ensure hate crime is addressed and what the general philosophy of the candidates are in relation to policing.

All three candidates were perfect gentlemen who obviously care greatly about ensuring Warwickshire is a safe place to live. I was impressed by their knowledge, commitment and genuine appetite to perform the role.

I hope that the meeting allowed the people of Rugby to form a clearer view of how to vote on the 15th November.