The Shadow Communities Secretary Hilary Benn claims that more Conservative councils than Labour ones are increasing the Council Tax this year. He puts the number of Conservative councils as 16 against 15 for Labour.
Regular readers will know that I have been critical of those Conservative councils that have turned down the opportunity to freeze or cut Council Tax. But, I'm afraid, I am not convinced by Benn's implication that those of us who have this criticism would be well advised to vote Labour.
For a start the Local Government Chronicle lists 16 rather than 15 Labour councils in England as increasing Council Tax – they are Barrow, Corby, Darlington, Gedling, Gravesham, Leicester, Luton, Middlesbrough, Nottingham, Preston, Redcar & Cleveland, St Helens, Stockton-on-Tees, Stoke-on-Trent, Telford & Wrekin and York.
That list also mentions Allerdale which although technically hung, is run by Labour with the Mayor's casting vote.
Benn also seems to have forgotten about Wales. We have Council Tax rises in Labour-run Neath Port Talbot, in Labour-run Torfean and in Labour-run Rhondda Cynon Taf. Does Benn think that people in Wales don't matter?
Then there is the consideration that there are many more Conservative councils in Britain than Labour ones. Labour control no county councils in England – so they don't have the chance to increase the Council Tax in any.
Labour councils that are putting up the Council Tax are predominantly doing so right at the referendum dodging limit of 3.5%.
While Eric Pickles has been quite clear in saying that councils are wrong to put up the Council Tax there has been no such clarity from Benn. Does Benn think that those councils putting up the Council Tax are wrong?
Labour opposed the funding offer that made the Council Tax freeze a reality for the overwhelming majority of households. Benn must feel a bit embarassed having put his name to this latest bit of spin.