In the week that a Government initiative has led to every council in England announcing a council tax freeze or cut this year, another Labour Shadow Minister has attacked the move that will bring real help to hard-working families and pensioners. Lord Beecham, Labour’s Shadow Local Government Minister in the Lords, has claimed that "A freeze builds up financial trouble for the future." This follows recent Labour criticism of the freeze by Shadow Local Government Minister Chris Williamson, who labelled it "nothing more than a gimmick."
Lord Beecham’s comments are also incorrect. Despite the need to pay off Labour’s deficit, councils are being given almost an extra £3 billion of central funding over four years to support the freeze in 2011-12. This will stop council tax soaring next year after the one-year freeze. Compared to a 5 per cent rise (the last Government’s typical capping limit in recent years), a freeze will save an average family up to £72 a year on a Band D home. Over four years, this lower rate of council tax is worth up to £288.
Local Government Minister Bob Neill MP said:
“It is unsurprising that Labour, who more than doubled council tax and refused a council tax freeze in England during their time in office, are now slating an initiative that will bring families savings of up to almost £300 over the next four years.
“While the Government is striving to bring real help to hard-working families and pensioners, Labour is once again shown to be out of touch with the everyday concerns of local residents across the country”.
So let the message go forth from this website, especially in areas with a Labour council seeking to claim credit for freezing the Council Tax: The Labour Party opposes the Council Tax freeze.