Tories refuse to vote against council tax hike
Labour has forced a vote in the House of Commons demanding that the Government reverse its plans to force councils to raise council tax by 5 per cent, a rise which would see council tax bills rise by £93 on average.
The move follows an appeal from Labour leader Keir Starmer to stop the council tax rise and provide certainty to millions of families who face additional blows to their incomes from frozen pay and a cut to Universal Credit.
However, the Tories failed to show up and engage with the issue. They still plan to proceed with the council tax hike, placing the burden on residents – especially the least well off.
Under the Government’s proposals set out in the Comprehensive Spending Review, families living in Band D will face an average rise of £93 next year. It means council tax will have risen by 33 per cent under the Conservatives.
Councils face a severe funding gap because of income lost during the pandemic and the additional costs of keeping communities safe from covid-19.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick previously said councils would be funded to do “whatever it takes” to support their communities but later backtracked and suggested councils should share the burden of their lost income.
Steve Reed MP, Labour’s Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, said:
“The Conservatives’ council tax rise will hit families right at the very time millions are worried about the future of their jobs and how they will get through the next few months.
“With Britain having experienced the worst recession of any major economy this is simply the wrong time for this tax rise. This Government should not be making families pay the price for their mishandling of the Covid crisis and their broken promises to support councils.
“The Prime Minister must cancel this hike. If he refuses, Conservative MPs will have the opportunity to vote with Labour to protect family incomes and secure our economy.”
Clive Lewis MP, Labour MP for Norwich South, said:
“Since coming to power in 2010, the Tories have systematically underfunded local government. Now, they’re forcing councils into a tax hike and making residents pay.
This is unacceptable at the best of times, let alone in the midst of a pandemic.
The Government must cancel the council tax rise and instead properly fund local councils.”