Cllr Robert-John Tasker reports on last night’s budget setting Council meeting in his borough of Kingston.

As I have written for Conservative Home before, my local authority, Kingston council, has the highest council tax in London. This year it will be the second highest rise in London but overall the total bill will still be the largest. However, something struck me last night listening to the leader, Cllr Derek Osbourne, and his colleagues defend the indefensible. Their attitude as with most centralists and pro-high tax politicians is something rather scary and perverse.

They often taunt and ridicule the Conservatives for wanting lower tax either by implementing a freeze or a cut. But why? They, very much like our present Government, are obsessed with a client state. A tax cut in the eyes of Cllr Osbourne and the Liberal Democrats is the equivalent of throwing the disabled into the river. You cannot cut tax because the local community depend on us! The Elderly, health groups, ethnic minorities, charities, etc, are apparently wholly dependent on the man in the Town Hall. Take away the interference from the local politicians and the community is nothing. The Lib Dems went on to add that if Kingston had Hammersmith and Fulham’s central government grant they would cut council tax in a similar fashion. No they would not. It is disingenuous for the Lib Dems to tell people that. Lib Dem-run Islington has a similar grant to H&F yet they have little or no interest in conducting a cut, they philosophically and fundamentally disagree with giving people a break on their rates.

We were told too that mentioning H&F in Kingston was wrong. Again,
it is not. It is morally and intellectually correct to use Wandsworth
and H&F as guiding points as to where we should be in terms of
providing services. After all, low council tax is providing a service,
it should be part of the comprehensive assessment review but such is
the left-wing bias in the quangocracy in this country there is little or
no chance of that being taken into consideration. Oh, and Conservative
Home’s very own Harry Phibbs was mentioned by the Dear Leader and
lambasted for some of his suggestions on 100 ways to cut the council tax without cutting key services.
At least Harry has given the leader of the council with the largest
council tax in London a few ideas. It just a pity he has so little
faith in human reason as to allow people to spend their own money
rather than continuously conducting the we-know-best attitude, but, I
guess that’s why the Lib Dems are still considered very much on the
lunatic fringe of politics.