Monday, 3 March 2008

Lib Dems Oppose “Excessive and Risky” 4.9% Council Tax Increase

Posted by Chris:

Liberal Democrat Councillors on Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council today opposed Labour’s budget which included an excessive 4.9% council tax increase, the biggest rise for years.

In addition Cleveland Fire Authority have set a 4.9% increase and Cleveland Police Authority have imposed a massive 9.97% increase.

Lib Dems are concerned that the Labour-run authority runs a serious risk of being “capped” by central government and having to re-bill residents.

The Local Government Minister, John Healey, has said that he expects council tax increases to be “substantially below 5%” or councils will face the risk of capping. There is no way in the world that 4.9% is substantially below 5%. It is highly irresponsible of Labour to take such a risk with public money.

Having to send out a new set of bills would cost the Council Taxpayer well over £100,000.

Speaking in the debate at today's meeting of the Borough Council Councillor Glyn Nightingale, Lib Dem Finance spokesperson, said:

“Under the Council’s financial plans there should only have been a 3.6% increase this year. But Labour have overspent and failed to be innovative in making efficiency savings. There is precious little real growth.”

“The people of Redcar & Cleveland will pay more and get less with this budget. What Labour calls “efficiencies” are really cuts and extra charges on the public.”


Anonymous said...

didn't stop you lot doing it for four years, to pay for your allowances increases!

what a joke you lot are.

ever thought chris, its because you bankrupted the council by any chance?

Chris & Glynis Abbott said...

That comment was about the level of the contribution from Labour in proposing the budget Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

chris, you and your coalition cronies had to keep putting the allowances up to keep keep your rag bag of lib dems, tories and various independent parties together.

Plus you capiyulated to steve kay's un-costed and unaffordable road adoption scheme which has seen the council fall behind by £12.5 million.

also you started out on so many legal cases against your own staff on pay, which were mainly all subsequently lost.

you only have yourself to castagate.

Chris & Glynis Abbott said...


The level of Councillor Allowances were increased following the recommendations of an Independent Panel in a report that was requested by the previous Labour Council. The cost of these allowances amounts to a tiny fraction of the Council's £350m budget.

The current Labour Administration promised the electors that they would cut allowances but they have kept them at the same level. I should have thought that there were more important issues to discuss on here that have some real effect of the level of Council Tax and Council spending as a whole.

The Coalition won most of the cases that went to tribunal as a result of our courageous decision to become the first local authority in the north east to introduce equal pay for jobs of equal worth. The vast majority of women workers were much better off as a result of this action. It is a real pity that the previous Labour Council did not have the courage to do this. The arrangement we made saved the Council more than £30m. Had we behaved like Labour and buried our heads in the sand until we were forced to do it the Council Taxpayers would have had to fork an extra £30m at least.

The fact that some staff used the services of a no win, no fee lawyer to try and wreck the agreement had to be defended and you are wrong, we did win most of the claims. The cost of this is nothing like what it would have cost if we had done what Labour did and avoid the issue and continue paying women staff less than men for jobs of equal value.

The £12.4m you refer to was a misguided claim by the new Council Leader, in the local Evening Gazette. He had to face the embarrassment of withdrawing the claim a couple of days later in the same paper. The Coalition financial management of the Council was excellent and helped to gain us four star excellent status after years in the doldrums under Labour.

It turned out that the £12m was nothing to do with the Coalition at all. It actually amounted to £7m that was the extra amount of grant the Labour Government should have provided us with over the previous two years because they had miscalculated our population figures, in spite of being provided with the correct figures by the Council. The other £5m was the cost of Labour's election promises if they were implemented in the first year.

We would have thought that Labour, having put themselves in such an embarrassing position by making these false claims, that they would avoid repeating it and reminding us all of their silly bloomer.

As regards the programme of spending £250,000 per year in bringing up to adoptable standards the unadopted roads in East Cleveland and Redcar, we hate to disappoint you, but we are proud of the achievement.

They have made a huge environment improvement in the areas that have benefited from it for a very reasonable cost.

Why is it OK for the Council to provide home insulation, home improvement grants and buy up homes that are failing in the housing market and not upgrade roads that were built pre-1939 when house builders had no responsibility for making up the roads?

Anonymous said...

The Coalition did not raise the Council Tax as high as Labour did. The Highest was in the first year when they had to pay for Labour's failure to implement equal pay. There were huge amounts of backpay to pay out. Even then it was not as a high an increase Labour have just imposed on top of massive increases by the Labour controlled Police and Fire Authorities.