Monday, 2 March 2009

Council Tax rise is excessive say Lib Dems

Liberal Democrats on Redcar & Cleveland Council today opposed the Labour Council’s plans to increase Council Tax by more than inflation.

The Council today voted to raise Council Tax by 3.75%, taking Band A bills above £1000 a year for the first time ever.

Local Liberal Democrats voted against the rise, calling it “excessive” during a recession.

Councillor Chris Abbott, Leader of the Liberal Democrats at the Council, commented:

"When people are losing jobs, struggling to make ends meet and the country is in the deepest recession for 60 years, a Council Tax rise above inflation is insulting and will do nothing to help struggling households. Money in people’s pockets is the best way out of a recession.

“It is also unnecessary. Gordon Brown’s Government should be making sure no council is forced to put up Council Tax this year by giving councils enough money to provide the services people need.”

Councillor Glyn Nightingale, Lib Dem Finance Spokesperson, added:

“The budget is highly risky and speculative. To make savings Labour are relying on staff vacancies not being filled, but how can they be certain that the vacancies will arise? Can they be sure that services will not be affected? It’s a dodgy budget.”

Even Labour’s Cabinet Member in charge of finance admitted the budget was “a big ask”. The Lib Dems think it’s too big an ask. At some stage during the next twelve months Labour will be forced into a re-think. Then local people will be called upon to pay the bill for Labour’s risk taking.

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