Conservatives are urging the Labour Party to back them in supporting a council tax freeze for residents after this emerged as the most popular budget option with councillors at last night’s Budget Council meeting, which ended in stalemate.
In the substantive vote on the 3 Budget options, 17 councillors voted for a council tax freeze with just 13 councillors each voting for a 2% increase and a 5.9% increase.
Conservatives are also calling on Independent member Christina Summers and UKIP member Leigh Farrow, who voted against all 3 proposals last night, to back the freeze in order to pass a lawful Budget when the Council reconvenes next Tuesday (3rd March).
Conservative Group Leader, Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald said: “It was clear last night that the council tax freeze option had the greatest amount of support amongst members of the Council. I, therefore, feel very strongly that it is incumbent upon Labour Group members in particular to compromise when we meet again next week to try and set a lawful Budget. Labour’s 2% increase proposal would only raise an extra £900k – a tiny fraction of the Council’s overall £750 million budget – after taking into account the council tax freeze grant from the Government of £1.2 million. And as I pointed out at last night’s meeting, a 2% increase would be 7 times the current rate of inflation – at a time when most household bills are falling, this is simply not justifiable. I urge the Labour Group, the smallest political Group on the Council, to compromise and help us deliver what the residents of this city clearly want – a council tax freeze. ”