Harlow Tories slam Labour over council tax freeze offer
General / Sat 5th Nov 2022 at 11:25am
AS you can see, there has been a major disagreement between Harlow Conservatives and Labour over a cost of living motion.
Our editorial policy is to present the news item including the film of the council meeting.
We have published Labour’s response and so, here is the press release published by the Conservatives.
Press release: Harlow Labour vote to stop possible freeze to Council Tax to ease cost of living
At Harlow Council’s meeting on Thursday 3 November, the Harlow Labour Group tabled a motion about action the Council could take to ease cost of living pressures.
The Harlow Conservatives supported the measures the opposition put forward, but pledged to go further by “taking all possible measures in next year’s budget setting process – as it did this year – to ease the cost of living through the Council Tax system”.
The Conservative-run Harlow Council cut Harlow Council Tax by £50 this year on top of the £150 Government Council Tax rebate – believed to be the biggest Council Tax cut in UK history.
The amended motion simply sought to ensure the Council did everything possible to support residents with the cost of living when it comes to setting the Council Tax level, but that was opposed by the Labour councillors, who raised Council Tax in each year of their running of the Council.
It is clear there is a dividing line between the Harlow Conservatives and Harlow Labour group when it comes to Council Tax.
A Harlow Conservative spokesperson said: “The Labour group brought forward some very sensible suggestions last night to help with the cost of living, which we fully supported. However, we felt it was important to go further and commit to doing everything we possibly could when it came to the Council’s Budget.
“Council Tax is the single biggest thing the Council can control in terms of the cost of living, which is why we cut Harlow Council Tax this year and we are committed to doing everything we can to ease the cost of living in the next Budget.
“It is a great shame to the people of Harlow that the Harlow Labour group would rather play politics and stick with their entrenched ideology that they must hike Harlow Council Tax, rather than take real action on the cost of living through measures they can control.
“Yet again, we have seen that only the Harlow Conservatives will keep Council Tax down and going back to same old Labour running Harlow Council would simply mean higher Harlow Council Tax bills for every resident in our town.”
Harlow Labour put forward a motion that was politically neutral in addressing the need to do as much as possible to aid Harlow residents in this crisis. The Conservative administration chose to hijack the motion to turn it into a Tory Party PR stunt and then feigned surprise that Labour couldn’t support it in that form. The Tories talked about being proud of council tax cuts but cannot the explain a deficit in the budget that leaves in excess of 1200 council homes awaiting repairs, some of those being to leaking roofs at at times when winter is fast approaching. The hypocrisy was amplified by Cllr Mike Garnett who berated Labour saying ‘tax can go down as well as up’. He should know. He voted for a cut in Harlow and the toddled off to County Hall to vote for an increase! Labour will continue to press for all possible measures to help residents through the crisis but it cannot support the fiscal ineptitude of the Tories at both local and national level.
“Keep digging” 🙄🤭
We can all see what a brilliant job the Tories do when in power: wreck the country to pay more to the most wealthy, robbing Peter in need of good social housing to pay Paul who's cashing in from selling up in London to live in Gilston Hggt at the cost of Harlow. The shortage of cash and the promises of a painful autumn budget is just an extension of George Osborne's austerity programme so Rich Ritchie can bung tax breaks to the same wealthy tory backers at the next election having further cut public services. It's a downwards spiral to keep the hedge fund and the city happy whilst neglecting to build manufacturing and the green industries we need..
Would be nice to see these guys stop playing ya boo party politics while Rome burns.
The Labour motion that was presented was sensible .workable and achievable. The Tory amendment was presented without notice or knowledge which resulted in a 10 minute adjournment. Very poor leadership from the Tory front bench. The Tory amendment wanted to us to agree a budget for 2023, which hasn’t been set or funded by central government. This would be an unfunded commitment and rightly the Labour group couldn’t support something that was untrue. The debate then headed to the usually and childish blame game,lead by the deputy leader of the council. Many councillors from both sides of the chamber were disappointed with the level of debate and the miss opportunities. We need the council to act now and support Harlow in the cost of living crisis We can’t wait until next years budget. I asked for a one off funding stream from reserves to help,which was rejected. We’re really missing those senior and at times sensible Tory councillors who like with COVID can put politics aside to get the best for Harlow.
Well there is a shocker a Labour suggestion to raise council tax …..again. These Labour guys never learn, taxing people for anything that moves is not the answer. Hence locally & nationally Labour have been dropped by the workers, as Labour remain for the few, not the many. Labour are the gift that NEVER stops giving.
No fan of Labour of course but by and large I would concur with Tony Durcan on this occasion. The simple fact is Toby, that with 10% inflation this is no time to be cutting Council Tax again. We have had years and years of cutting public services, the country is worse off as a result. The poorest in society (those on benefits) do not pay as much council tax as the more well off but they are of course the ones that need council services the most whether at County or District level.
This is the time people need more of THEIR money in THEIR pocket, not the councils. Were services outstandingly better under the high taxing local Labour council ? no. & just put it out there - is there an agruement to consider pay as you go on CERTAIN public services ? pay for what you use. Eg if you don't use them - you don't pay. as it can be seen as legalised mugging tbh.
If one checks the number of projects put on the back burner, plus the number of unfilled vacancies at Harlow Council, it is obvious that trying to freeze Council Tax next year is unwise. This time the Labour Group have got it right. Labour will need to take a rest to help their brains recover!
Which ones would you suggest Toby, can you give us a list?