Cllr Merrick Cockell, leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council and Chairman of London Councils, on the own goal by Labour and Lib Dem Councils insisting on Council Tax hikes – despite George Osbourne’s very generous offer.
was amazed to see the Evening Standard story claiming that all Labour
and LibDem boroughs were opposed, including those in power-sharing
arrangements with us.
power-sharing coalitions and all that have responded have confirmed
that they were not consulted in the response given to the Standard.
"Hard-pressed Londoners struggling to make ends meet will
have read that, "Half of boroughs oppose Tory council tax freeze" (01/10/08)
Under the Conservatives’ plans, funded by cutting Whitehall
consultancy fees and slashing national bureaucratic bloat – not by cutting
local funding – all boroughs proposing council tax rises of 2.5% or less for 2
years will get a 2.5% extra grant so
that they can freeze council tax for their residents.
Yet Labour and Liberal Democrat councils appear to have
rejected this opportunity out of hand. That is, of course, a matter for them.
But they will have to explain to their residents why they could not find local
savings to hit the trigger that could freeze council tax and provide real help
to local people at a time they really need it.
Coupled with Boris Johnson’s pledge that the GLA part of
council tax will also be frozen,
Londoners have the chance of a zero increase for 2 years – unless, it
seems, they live in a Labour or Liberal