Cllr Heather Scott, leader of the Conservative opposition on Darlington Borough Council, says her council has already doubled the Council Tax in a decade and now intends to pile up the agony for local residents
Darlington Labour Controlled Council has increased council tax by 100% over the last 10 years in order to fund their spending ambitions.
Each year when setting the Darlington Council budget they present the electorate with a spending programme based on political ideology rather than a realistic calculation of projected income.
During each of the last five years their capital expenditure targets were collectively some 31 million above their known tax and grants income income. This shortfall then had to be funded by sale of assets ,use of reserves and borrowing.
They incurred overspend of some £2 million on two projects mainly due to poor contract management.
Over a 5 year period a school PFI project was not properly monitored resulting in overpayment of utilities bills and in addition penalties of £48,000 penalties should have been claimed .
Instead these monies were taken from the other schools budget at a time when lack of maintenance resulted in some school buildings deteriorating drastically. Of course their solution to all educational problems was to demolish errant schools and re-build at an astronomical cost.
Council grant settlements have been reducing for some time even under the last government but labour still continued to spend and borrow without any regard for the inevitable day of reckoning. They now try to blame the coalition government for their spend, spend ,spend philosophy.
The Labour Cabinet in Darlington failed to meet the targets set last year for savings and we are now faced with a council tax increase of 3.5 % which is almost certain to receive approval because of their majority. One of the few authorities in the North East to reject the Governments offer of additional funding for freezing council tax. This is being proposed without any regard to the potential loss of £2.5 million annually to the local economy at a time when both taxpayers and business need as much help as possible.
When will Labour accept their responsibility for the disastrous state of our financial situation both locally and nationally and show some consideration for those residents who bear the brunt of their past misdeeds. A large majority of those people have seen their pensions reduced as a result of Gordon Browns raid on pension funds.
Just as the National Labour party have shown they can not be trusted to properly manage taxpayers money we have the same outcomes from Labour in Darlington.