If the rise was above 2% the Council would have to call a referendum in which the people would decide. The rise will give the Council an extra £1.1 million.
Central Government has offered the Council well over half a million pounds if it freezes Council Tax this year. This is the third time Labour bosses have refused Government money to help keep Council Tax frozen.
Last year Labour raised Council Tax by 3.5%, the highest in the country.
Despite this the Labour council has managed to spend: over £4,319 on new furniture for the Mayor’s Parlour; £168,000 hiring a temporary officer; £95,000 on equipment it already had; £37,600 on bird monitoring; £36k on a temporary civic building; £78,000 on a legal case it had no chance of winning and was prepared to spend £20,000 on hiring a consultant to find out what everybody already knew about opposition to parking charges in Saltburn!
The Government has offered councils the equivalent of a 1% Council Tax increase if they freeze Council Tax. Liberal Democrats say Redcar & Cleveland Council should accept this offer which amounts to £585,000. Lib Dems think the extra money the Council says it needs could be found through savings and, at last, making a real effort to eliminate inessential and wasteful expenditure.
Councillor Glyn Nightingale, Lib Dem Group Leader, said:
"I am appalled at Labour cynically keeping the Council Tax rise just below 2% to avoid a public referendum.
“The 1.97% rise will raise an extra £1.1 million. By freezing Council Tax the Government will give the Council £585,000. The gap of £579,000 exactly matches all the wasteful schemes Labour didn’t need to pour money into plus the £200k unspent from this year. There is plenty of wasted money spent on things they can scrap if they have the will to do it. It’s not difficult.
“But instead they seem to want to organise yet another raid on people’s wallets.
“If they want 2% more they should have the guts to say so and let the people decide.”