Labour Councillors at a meeting of Redcar and Cleveland Council today voted to increase Council Tax by nearly 2%, with the help of some Independent councillors. This is despite being offered a grant of over £1 million from the Government in exchange for keeping Council Tax frozen.
The Labour administration is increasing Council Tax for residents by 1.994%, the highest rise they can get away with without triggering a referendum of local people. Liberal Democrats think this is treating people with contempt, and that the Council should have gone to a referendum and let the people decide.
This follows hot on the heels of Labour’s 3.5% rise in 2012, the highest in the country.
Lib Dems think the Council should have taken the grant, which is equivalent to a 1% Council Tax increase, and frozen Council Tax. Savings could have been made by cutting the use of consultants in the Council, cutting the communications budget, use of reserves and a real war on waste.
Lib Dem Councillor Josh Mason proposed an amendment at Council today calling for a Council Tax freeze, saying:
"This is a double whammy from Labour against the people of Redcar and Cleveland borough.
“Not only has Labour lost the borough over £1 million in grant, it is also asking the residents to stump up an extra £1.5 million because of the Council Tax rise.
“Labour is taking with one hand and taking with the other!
“It's time hard-working residents in our borough had a break.”