Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Government forcing up council tax in Gateshead - Liberal Democrats

LIBERAL Democrats in Gateshead have warned that council tax could rocket over the next three years because of the government’s decision to squeeze the cash given to councils.

For every pound spent by councils, on average, 75p of it comes from central government as part of a cash grant to help pay for local services. But the government’s spending plans for the next three years, called the Comprehensive Spending Review, will slam on the brakes and massively restrict the money Whitehall based ministers give to councils.

Liberal Democrats in the borough have warned that Gateshead Council may be forced by the spending decision of the Labour government to increase council tax well above inflation.

Whickham North Councillor Mary Wallace said, “Labour’s spending plans are based on council tax rising at double the rate of inflation over the next three years. That will mean big council tax increases for resident of Gateshead.

“Labour have no plans to reform council tax, the unfairest tax in the country. The Conservatives will also keep council tax. But Labour are making a bad situation worse by forcing up council tax by more than inflation.

“This is bad news in particular for the elderly residents of Gateshead who have fixed incomes or who saved all their lives and as a result are refused council tax benefit.

“Council tax is a rotten system and needs to be replaced with by a fair system based on ability to pay, not used to bail out Labour’s Whitehall cash black hole.”

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