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Ealing and Northfield

Ealing Freeze paid for by £18 million of government grants

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.

3 replies on “Ealing Freeze paid for by £18 million of government grants”

This really is a silly system.

National Government attempts to blackmail Local Government by bribing them not to increase Council Tax.

What is needed is for the rich to pay more taxes. I don’t care if this is done locally regionally or centrally. I’m not poor. I wouldn’t like to pay more tax, but in preference to increasing the taxes on the poor and vulnerable I’d pay more taxes.

Eric,

You can call it silly if you want but that isn’t really an argument. The government has been effective in keeping council tax down across the country. In fact council tax has fallen 9.5% in real terms under the Coalition.

Council tax is a very unpopular tax as people see the bills and hate paying them. In the past Labour councils have ramped up council tax and the rates horribly. Council tax doubled across England under the last Labour government going up 109% across England from 1997 to 2010. Locally things were much worse. In the twelve years Labour ran Ealing from 1994 to 2006 they increased Council Tax by a staggering 179% – 48% in their last four years from 2002 to 2006.

You may believe in higher taxes (on other people of course). The UK is in the upper half of the OECD pack in taking about 35% of GDP in taxes. Historically the UK has never taken much more than 35% in taxes out of the economy. You may wish that we had but we just never have.

The point I am making is that this administration always complains about the not so good things happening but never admits that it also has lots of new money. A lot more new money than this has come in and there is more the council could get if it wanted more.

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