Ray Mallon, the independent directly elected Mayor of Middlesbrough is proposing to spurn Government funding for a council Tax freeze and instead increase the Council Tax by 3.5%.
The Council workforce of 10,000 is only due to fall by 120 in the coming year. Services for children and the disabled are being cut while thousands are spent changing a light bulb and on overseas trips. It has seven staff earning over £100,000 a year. It's spends over another £100,000 paying for union officials. Another £60,000 on political advisers. Another £1.52 million on spin doctors.
The proportion of children in care in Middlesbrough is the highest in the north east at 104 per 10,000 (see link to table LAA1.) How thorough has Mayor Mallon really been in ensuring that as many as possible of the 325 "Looked After Children" the council are responsible (at huge expense) are placed for adoption?
This is an area where the spending on failure is vast.
Cllr Chris Hobson says:
"As the Leader of Middlesbrough Conservative Group I was devastated to hear Mayor Mallon announce that the council is going to increase the council tax by 3.5%. The Government are offering a 2.5% contribution to councils that freeze their council tax. I believe that we should help the residents and Middlesbrough by freezing the council tax and therefore helping the local economy. People only have a certain amount of money to spend and by Middlesbrough Council taking more out of the residents pockets it leaves less for them to spend in our shops and help to boost business. Total false economy."
With only four councillors the Conservatives can't block this Council Tax rise on their own. But Labour easily could if they wanted to.