I have had a month off from the blog. Over the next few days I am going to comment on various aspects of the budget that was agreed at the council meeting last Tuesday.
At the meeting the Labour administration used a question to re-announce that they will freeze council tax for their 4th budget next year for the fourth year in a row, they first announced it in the Gazette at the start of the year. This news will be welcomed by most residents and it certainly is by the Conservative opposition on the council. We started the freeze, along with the new London Mayor Boris Johnson in the 2009/2010 financial year. This year bills will even fall slightly due to a cut in the Mayor’s precept.
Labour has not been so keen to re-announce the source of the funding for this freeze. When we set a standstill council tax for two years there was no council tax freeze grant. The current Labour administration has accepted £18 million of grants from central government to freeze the council tax, see Table 3 on page 14 of the budget report. They keep talking about the freeze and they keep telling porkies about their £85 million savings target and calling it cuts but they never tell you that they have had £18 million of new money from central government to fund the freeze.