Letter to Editor: Harlow Council finance boss makes pledge to never “take your money for granted”
News / Tue 4th Jan 2022 am31 08:39am
THIS month, the new Conservative Council in Harlow will become the first in our town’s history to reduce the amount of Council Tax that residents pay to Harlow Council.
Not only will residents pay less Council Tax to Harlow Council than they did last year, but they will get better services for it, because we are not cutting any services, instead we are investing in them.
Some may wonder how it can be that we can reduce Council Tax without cutting services?
The answer is clear: we are returning financial prudence to Harlow Council – ending the decade long spirit of wasting your money.
Over the last decade the answer to Labour’s chaos every year was to make residents pay more Council Tax. Never did they check their own financial management.
That chaos has ended.
Never again will Harlow Council take your money for granted.
Never again will this town’s Council waste money whilst making you pay more.
Too often politicians in Harlow have forgotten that our job is to serve you.
And my job is to spend every penny of your money wisely and to invest in what matters to you.
So that is what our Budget later this month will be: a People’s Budget, delivering on people’s priorities and reducing Council Tax.
Cllr James Leppard
Conservative Cabinet Member for Finance
Where's the Magic money tree? I suppose the proof of the pudding will be in the eating but let's see the details in the accounts first. Inflation is rising, Conservative Essex County Council is taking a bigger cut so what's being sold off this time? This fixation with reducing Council tax is a dogma based on the idea that private businesses can do things cheaply, that usually means on the backs of the workers, ignoring unions, lower wages and bigger profits and dividends. Hence the business party pushes more workers into poverty and disguises their intentions by announcing more benefits that are harder to get and paid for by austerity budgets, cutting things like nhs spending on staff, (whilst privatising by stealth), social care and education. Meanwhile money from foreign speculators and money laundering keeps the bubble going. Local politics is tied to National strategies. Less waste is good, cutting Osborne like is not prudent, perhaps better to ensure that the disadvantaged get significant help and the rest pay in proportion to their household income.
No fan of Labour of course but to suggest that there has been chaos for many years really is poor. Harlow Council have had to put Council tax up because the money given to all Councils by the Tory Government has been steadily cut every year. In answer to a question I recently put to Full Council the answer I got was that sites identified for Council housing as recently as last December are now being touted for sale to private developers. These sites include the former Lister House, where residents were shown detailed plans over 3 years ago but the site has remained derelict ever since. I look forward to the Council's proposals in the coming weeks with growing interest.
IF the Conservative Council in Harlow reduce the amount of council Tax that residents of Harlow pay it will most definitely NOT be the first time in the towns history that there has been a reduction. The only recorded year on year reductions in council tax charges for Harlow residents were made under a LABOUR controlled Harlow Council with a No overall control Essex County Council in the years 1995/96 when there was a -4.83% reduction and 1994/95 when there was a -2.56% reduction. The facts are easily accessible, Council Tax bands and charges for Harlow in the current and previous years going back to 1993/94 can be found on the council website at the link https://www.harlow.gov.uk/council-tax/council-tax-bands-and-charges. Yet more misleading words from the Conservatives. Councillor Leppard says the Conservatives will "reduce the amount of Council Tax that residents pay to Harlow Council". Is he preparing us for a rise in the overall amount payabel but declaring the Harlow Council element will be smaller? His predecessor Councillor Russell Perrin claimed in this publication in the run up to to the Council elections “If you vote Conservative in May, you are voting to cut your Council tax”. The council TAX IN TOTAL not just the Harlow Council element. any thing less than a reduction of the total amount payable by a Harlow resident will be a betrayal of promises made to the people of Harlow.
The last comment on this article, is typical of a Labour supporter. Can remember as far back as 1993/1994 on something good the, then,Labour administration party done for the Harlow residents for a change but can not remember as far back as only last year and back to 2012, when then the Labour administration party increased the council tax 8 times in their 9 years of being the administration party of Harlow and to do that last year, which was a bad year for the Harlow residents, financially due to the pandemic, proves that they do not put the Harlow residents first. Well done to the Tory administration party of Harlow for sticking to this pre election promise.
Danny this is just one of many examples where the Conservatives make a statement that is factually incorrect. IF a reduction in council tax is made this year the fact is it will NOT be the "first in our town’s history" as claimed by councillor Leppard. Increases made in the last 10 years by the Labour Council will have been due mainly to the decrease in grant money given by central government to local authorities. "Councils’ grant funding from central government has fallen from £83.1 billion in 2015/16 to £69.9 billion in 2018/19 – a decrease of 15.8 per cent over four years. This includes steep decreases in both revenue and capital funding". Source https://www.local.gov.uk/publications/fragmented-funding-report. I state facts not fiction.
I believe an old adage rings true in this case: "You can't get blood out of a stone." The only way to balance the books is for our Tory council to increase commercial business activities, both through direct investment to collect profits and dividends and through incentives to increase the number of businesses in the town to collect more rent and business rates. A number of councils have returned financial losses, not just during the pandemic. Caveat emptor applies in this case.
I bet you left wing can't remember, when Maggie Thatcher first introduced poll in England back in 1990, it was the Left wing socialist that were the first out rioting in central London, which all a farce in my because ever since Maggie Thatcher introduced poll that, it has Labour Administrated controlled council who have increased it the most time and the up to the high rate, putting hard work family under finacial pressure. The word two faced short minded hypocrites cones to mind.
I bet you left wingers can not remember that when Maggie Thatcher first introduced poll tax in England back in 1990, that It was the left wing socialist who first out to riot in central London regarding the introduction of the poll tax. But ever since Maggie Thatcher introduced poll, it has been the Labour administrated councils who have increased it the most throughout the years. Talk about two faced and hypocritical