Liberal Democrats cannot support Labour council tax rise in Telford and Wrekin
Last Thursday Telford and Wrekin's Labour Council increased council tax by 4.99%. Liberal Democrats did not support the council tax increase at last week's full council meeting.
Liberal Democrat group leader, Cllr Bill Tomlinson explains their decision:
"The Labour administration put forward its budget for the next year on Thursday night. Lib Dem councillors abstained. I wanted to explain why we took the stance we did. Although the budget had a lot of very positive aspects, we felt that the proposed increase in council tax of nearly 5% is something we could not support at a time when Covid-19 and the impact of Brexit is already hitting residents financially."
"It is acknowledged that all local authorites have been pressured into this increase tax increase by lack of funding from our Conservative government. There is always upwards pressure on costs to help protect the most vulnerable (and we fully support the need to do so). It is about time a national formula was devised to achieve a fair national standard for spending on adults and childrens services, similar to the way Lib Dems in government brought in the Pupil Premium to allocate schools funding on the basis of need. We don't want to be like the USA, where only the wealthier areas, that can raise higher council tax, can afford good services."
Cllr Tomlinson continued:
"Furthermore, when we see the council continuing to spend tens of thousands of pounds of council taxpayers' money promoting the administration and its leader, we felt we could not ask the hard-pressed people of Telford and Wrekin to pay even more tax.
Sadly, of course, thanks to their comfortable majority on the council, Labour were able to push their budget through. However, we managed to convince the administration, prior to the meeting, to amend the proposed budget to ensure that residents on the Council Tax Reduction scheme would see no increase in the next financial year, which should at least alleviate the pressure on some of our poorest residents.
Lib Dems will continue to offer constructive opposition, rather than opposition for its own sake, and we will always put the people of Telford and Wrekin first."