The Evening Standard reports that Labour are hoping to cling on to some of the London councils next year with a supposed deathbed conversion to the cause of efficiency and low Council Tax. They report that the Labour boroughs:
Lambeth, Lewisham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Newham, Greenwich, Haringey, and Barking and Dagenham will all see an absolute Council Tax freeze for 2010-11.
It says Communities Secretary John Denham is "driving through" this strategy. Perhaps he has told them what their central Government grant allocation will be. The rest of us our still waiting to find out. Waltham Forest, a Labour-run council propped up by the Lib Dems isn't on the list.
Will an election year freeze be enough to convince the voters in those boroughs? I would hope and expect that in all of them there will be a vigorous Conservative campaign with the message that the Conservatives would deliver lower Council Tax than the Labour incumbents. I would hope and expect that they will contrast my Conservative Council of Hammersmith and Fulham with Council Tax cuts year after year with Labour Councils that keep pushing up the bills and then have an one off, unfunded, election year Council Tax freeze,
All these Labour Councils listed are high tax Councils. They typically charge nearly treble the Band D level of Council Tax in Conservative Westminster or Wandsworth. For Denham to include Haringey (Band D Council Tax £1,184.32) in his roll of honour is beyond parody. It would be funny if it wasn't so offensive given the scandals that have beset that authority.