Harlow Conservatives pledge to freeze council tax “for a further three years”

News / Mon 29th Apr 2024 at 07:08am

HARLOW Conservatives have re-confirmed their commitment to freezing Harlow Council Tax for a further three years. 

Council Tax has been a dividing line for the Harlow Conservatives and Harlow Labour in recent years.

Between 2012 and 2021, the Harlow Labour-run Council increased council tax by 14%. Since 2021, the Harlow Conservatives have frozen Harlow Council Tax as one of very few councils in the country to do this claims the Tories.

Reconfirming their pledge to freeze council tax for three further years, the Leader of Harlow Conservatives, Dan Swords said: “The choice is clear, if you want Harlow Council Tax frozen vote for the local Conservatives to run Harlow Council on Thursday. We have delivered on this pledge for the past three years and we will do so for the next three years. 

“We can do this because we are running a council in a strong financial position with strong levels of reserves, huge investments into your priorities and increasing levels of revenue coming into the council through other forms of income. 

“Whilst Harlow Council will spend around £200 million this year, only around £7 million of that comes from council tax revenue and we passionately believe that we should not increase the amount of council tax you pay, unless we have to. 

“Despite the scaremongering by the opposition, Harlow Council is in a strong financial position with no ‘black hole’. It is a legal requirement under the 1972 Local Government Act for a council to pass a balanced budget (with no black hole) which must be signed off and verified by an independent Section 151 officer – which has happened. Indeed, we have been shortlisted for the ‘Most Improved Council in England’ based on our improved financial performance.

“It is clear that the only reason the opposition are saying this is because they have no plan for our town, no detail on how they’d run the council and no idea about how to spend your money. When we put forward our budget for 2024, they did not present an alternative budget (as is expected) and instead said that if they won the election, they would ‘have a meeting’ to decide what to do. 

“They now say that if they win they would have to ‘look at the books’ which begs the question as to what on earth were they looking at when ‘the books’ were presented to them and they voted against it in February. All of this information is publicly available and anyone who tells you that if you vote for them they would ‘look at the books’ and ‘have a meeting’ just shows you how unfit they are to run your council and our town.

“To freeze Harlow Council Tax whilst investing hundreds of millions to rebuild our town, vote for your three local Conservative candidates on Thursday.”

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16 Comments for Harlow Conservatives pledge to freeze council tax “for a further three years”:

2024-04-29 07:16:11

More carrots on a stick. So, 'whilst investing hundreds of millions to rebuild our town', where is the money coming from? Are Harlow Cons borrowing and borrowing like no tomorrow? Going by how many councils up and down the country are going bankrupt because of cuts of funding from government office (the Tories), I presume so. So..how do we pay it back? Make the maths work please...

2024-04-29 07:35:37

Harlow Conservatives pledge to freeze Council tax, just like they have done every year since 2021. Yet Council tax has gone up every year since 2021.

Raymond Curtis
2024-04-29 07:46:43

Hey Mark. It’s Essex County Council and Essex police that increase their portion of the council tax each year.

2024-04-29 08:49:51

Trace, the funds for Regeneration are allocated grants. They don't involve debt. Labour have no idea how the finances work, which is why they lost out on grants and had to repay a New Homes Bonud because they didn't build new houses. Their idea of buying houses on the open market is insane. Raymond is also right. Harlow Conservatives have not increased the local element of council tax that they control. The increase was by Essex not Harlow. Labour would increase the local part as they always did.

2024-04-29 09:14:15

Lesley, to say that funds for regeneration don't involve debt is patently untrue. The funds coming from central government involve billions of debt, nearly every month the govt borrows billions more. Had you qualified your comment with "local" debt I would have agreed with you. And you say labour don't understand how finances work.

Kim Oconnor
2024-04-29 09:45:52

Who ever gets in next, Essex County Council need to be held accountable for the disgusting state of our roads..which this council has not done...As for freezing council tax, any body else notice rents have gone up by £40 a month, there escape goat for this,is, its still lower than other councils.. I say that's hardly the point, it's a big rise, at a time where people are really struggling.. I personally am fed up with all the promises, all the lies.. Having lived here all my life, I've never seen this town in such a state, as it is now.. Our services need to come first and foremost, it shocks me to see it.

Mr Grumpy
2024-04-29 10:48:06

HC's bit of tax frozen but that for ECC keeps going up year after year. Strange that ECC are also Tories !!

2024-04-29 11:02:53

Mr Grumpy, I think you are getting confused. ECC are profligate racist Tories like the Westminster lot. Harlow Council is run by ‘Local Conservatives’ – They are a completely different animal – Ask them, they’ll tell you that they despise the Essex lot who can’t even fill the potholes.

2024-04-29 11:04:47

Kim Re the shocking state of the roads in Harlow, before and after they are bodged up. Why has nobody from Harlow council taken Essex cc to task over the incompetent way the roads have been supposedly repaired and who the hell signed them off for payment. We will never know.

2024-04-29 11:19:18

A question was asked at the recent hustings about council tax, I don't know if the panel had prior knowledge of the questions but I don't think the question should have been a surprise even if they did not. Dan Swords was very clear. Chris Vince was not. He was struggling to talk but hasn't taken any opportunity to address the issue since. Money is at the centre of everything, would you make a shopping purchase without knowing the price, this is precisely what local labour are asking us do, make a purchase without knowing neither the price nor the quality.

Stuart G
2024-04-29 11:54:09

Probably an unpopular opinion but I think HC should raise CT, at least in line with inflation. After all, the HC portion is only a small proportion of the overall CT bill, and the County always raises theirs. Moreover, a freeze is a real terms cut when you take inflation into account. We all want the town improving, council services improving and workers to be paid a decent wage, so we need to be willing to at least put the equivalent amount into it each year, not cut it. It's a gimmick to try to buy votes which ends up with the town falling even further into disrepair as there's less money, or we start to be charged for services which were once included (such as garden waste collection).

John C
2024-04-29 11:54:25

Wilky, if the ‘Local Conservatives’ party or the ‘Harlow Conservatives’ party despise the Conservative party so much why are they standing for them? (yes under a different name, but it is still the same party) the jokers think we are fools.

John C
2024-04-29 11:56:53

Raymond and Lesley, you left out that Essex county council is also conservative run. They are just playing good cop, bad cop but both work for the same party and our council tax will still raise, it just won’t be the local councils “fault” but they are all one and the same.

2024-04-29 12:18:55

Stuart, you make a valid, I guess it all depends on the starting point. In the past, Labour have criticised the Conservatives for "spending reserves". Of course, reserves may be considered to be too high tax in previous years. There does seem to be attitudes in none tory areas that council job numbers are sacrosanct which of course can lead to higher tax. Dan Swords has been accused of not filling vacancies. I remember many years ago, a young lady in my Accounts class who worked for the (labour) council said that if she had done her work she was not allowed to help others. I suspect that attitude no longer prevails.

Terry Morrant
2024-04-29 14:13:40

Seriously can you trust them anymore? Did a certain leader of the Council publicly back Boris. Who himself apparently enjoyed partying as the rest of us saw our families and friends sadly die.. If true - Think before whom you vote for!

James Gamble
2024-04-29 17:25:14

When Council tax started after the debacle of the poll tax upturn.there was Essex County Council tax and Harlow District Council tax. Now there is police firebrigade and one or two others, all of which was included in the Essex side of the charges. To mind I cannot remember a single year when the Tory run County Council have frozen or reduced their share. They have increased their share by stealth. As far as the District council is concerned it is so easy to freeze a tax when you stop doing things for the town.

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