Labour today announced their Christmas present to the people of Redcar & Cleveland – a council tax increase of 3.5%.
This comes despite the Government’s offer of a 2.5% grant to all councils which will freeze their Council Tax next year.
Refusing the Government’s offer means Labour have lost the area £1.4 million – that’s over £10 for every single person in the borough.
At today’s meeting of the Council the Liberal Democrats put forward an amendment which would have meant a Council Tax freeze. But Labour voted this down.
Lib Dem Leader Cllr Glyn Nightingale said:
“The 3.5% rise will be built in for future years – so this is not just a 3.5% increase for this year, it is forever.
“Labour Councillors constantly complain about the impact of the budget on local people, but this Council Tax rise reduces people’s incomes all round. So it hurts the people they are claiming to protect.
"Less money in people’s pockets means less spending in the local economy, which in turn means less employment.
“It’s short-sighted, contradictory and politically motivated.
“It’s a good job that pensioners will be getting the biggest ever pension increase of £5.30 a week in April.
“The Council’s scrutiny revealed that many budget changes were reforms that were unrelated to any cuts. Many were sensible, overdrew or did what other local councils were doing already.
“If the Council Tax rise made the Council smarter in its working, the Lib Dems would support this budget. But it doesn’t – so we can’t and we haven’t.”