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The great Brighton and Hove council tax debate: Labour leader Warren Morgan on the case for 2% rise
12:30pm Thursday 23rd January 2014 in News
No one wants to pay more in council tax, but in good economic times people don’t mind paying a little more if they know it goes to providing better schools, roads, refuse collection, care services, street cleaning and so on.
Despite what we are told by politicians in Westminster though, economic times are still not good.
Most can’t see their personal financial situation improving, one in three Brighton and Hove residents are struggling with debt, some are using food banks to feed their families, others are teetering on the brink of being homeless.
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At the same time as costs to councils of social care services are going up, and some NHS services are being transferred to councils to run, the Government is cutting tens of millions from council funding - £23 million less this year, £25 million less next year. A grant to “freeze” council tax gives only around a million back.
Freezing council tax of course means more cuts, as inflation is till increasing costs by over 2% a year.
That’s why many Conservative councils, including Kent, and our Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner, have rejected the “freeze” and are putting up council tax by as much as the government will allow.
We believe people still want good local services run by local councils, not outsources to big companies like G4S and Capita. We think most people see through the Tories’ con trick of offering no increases in the run-up to an election.
Labour does not agree with the Greens that the council should increase tax by almost 5%.
Jason Kitcat and Caroline Lucas might be able to afford that, local people struggling with rising energy bills and rents can’t.
Their costly referendum plan designed to score political points against the Labour opposition locally and the Tory government nationally will fail, and we will be back to the 2% rise they themselves were planning until last week.
That’s why we want a sensible and reasonable increase of 2%, in line with over sixty Conservativeled councils and many Labour ones across the country, to deliver well-run local services that residents can rely on and afford.
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