Friday, 25 January 2008

‘Gordon Brown’s fingerprints’ over another round of council tax rises

Fiddled funding and extra burdens to blame explains Giles McNeill

Local residents face yet another year of soaring council taxes, according to a new survey by town halls. The cross-party Local Government Association (LGA) has predicted that council tax bills across England will soar by 4% from this April, following a snapshot of the draft budgets of a hundred town halls.

Giles McNeill, Nettleham Parish Councillor, responded that the blame must be put firmly where it belongs – with the extra regulations and burdens on local councils imposed by Whitehall without proper funding. Unfunded burdens the LGA has identified include the rising costs of social care due to an ageing population, extra costs of waste and recycling due to EU and Whitehall directives, the underfunded cost of free bus travel, transferring costs for family court hearings to councils and new 24 hour licensing laws.

· In West Lindsey, council tax bills have already risen by 103% over the last ten years.
· A typical home in England will pay an estimated £1,374 on Band D from April, equivalent to £115 a month. Scotland, on the other hand, will enjoy a tax freeze, with the same Band D home only paying £1,149.
· On average, families across England will have to find an extra £53 in tax from April, on top of existing council tax, the rising price of mortgages and rocketing utility bills. If council tax bills were were to rise by 4% inWest Lindsey, this would mean a rise of£53.
The precise rise in West Lindsey will depend on the individual budget decisions of Lincolnshire County Council, West Lindsey District Council, Nettleham, Greetwell, Riseholme and Grange-de-Lings parish councils, Lincolnshire police authority, Lincolnshire fire and rescue. Nettleham Parish Council has already voted through an increase in there part of the council tax of over 25% - which Giles McNeill is on record opposing.

Giles McNeill said:
“Gordon Brown’s fingerprints are all the doubling of council tax bills under Labour, making it his sneakiest stealth tax. The hikes have been forced up by Whitehall, leaving local councillors to take the blame when the ever more weighty bills hit the doormat.

“Gordon Brown’s fiddled funding and new duties imposed on local councils will mean yet more money snatched from people’s pensions and pay packets. Labour’s only plan is to hike taxes yet further – with new bin taxes on the way.”

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