Birmingham news 'The people simply can't afford it' - Dudley council tax row MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - The Conservative-run authority said the rise will protect services while Labour accused the government of passing the cost of Covid onto local tax payers.
Breaking News ! Council tax in Dudley will increase by just under five per cent in April after councillors clashed over who should pay for the pandemic. The Conservative-run authority said the rise will protect services while Labour accused the government of passing the cost of Covid onto local tax payers. Cllr Steve Clark, cabinet member for financial and legal services, said Dudley had received an extra £200 million government cash during the pandemic. Proposing £5 million savings this year he emphasised Dudley had also attracted hundreds of millions for regeneration projects in the past year. On council services, he said: “Over the next three years we will be providing net additional investment rising to £8 million a year into adult social care helping to manage rising costs and the complexity and rising numbers of people requiring care. Net additional investment rising to around £4 million per year into children’s services." Read More Related Articles Taxi driver loses licence after racist remarks to female passenger Read More Related Articles 'We want to ensure everyone is safe' - Mine shaft discoveries under health centre site in Wednesbury He added it was also providing an extra £1 million to tackle potholes and £250,000 to pay for more PSCOs in the borough. Saying auditors had recommended increasing the council’s income, he said: “We are proposing a council tax increase of 4.99 percent. Even with this increase we still have the lowest council tax in the West Midlands and one of the lowest in the country.” In response, Labour’s Cllr Pete Lowe said council tax rises hit low income families hardest, spending a greater share of their income paying for services. Predicting the costs of adult services would outstrip councils ability to pay, he demanded the government give Dudley a fair deal, adding: ”The expectation that hard working families will be hit with the largest council tax rise in years, and the very same time many will have jobs at risk and bills to pay, is simply wrong. “Make no mistake this is a Conservative council tax hike in Downing Street implemented by their friends in Dudley.” Cllr Qadar Zada, leader of the Labour opposition, accused council leaders of failing to fight for more government funding. Saying Tories had gone back back on a promise to fund local authorities through the Covid outbreak, he said: “Prior to the pandemic 9,000 households were in default owing about £3 million in council tax.
. “The people of this borough simply can’t afford it and they can’t afford it because they are out of work, simple as that." But Conservative councillors accused their critics of having no alternative and ignoring Labour councils like Wolverhampton and Sandwell which are increasing their council taxes.
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Cllr Patrick Harley, Conservative leader of the council, said: “As we hopefully prepare to come out of the nightmare that has been Covid we again present a budget that shows a real commitment to deal with the borough post-Covid. A desire to invest more than our opponents thought possible in front-line services such as adults’ and children's (care). At the same time dealing with our ambitious regeneration programmes which enables this borough to be a trailblazer when it comes to creating jobs, opportunities and prosperity for the people of this borough.” Saying Labour had nothing to offer, he said the budget was: “An extra £30 million into services that will protect our vulnerable adults and children across the board. That investment would be at risk if the socialists ever got their way.“ The budget was passed by the narrowest of margins with 36 votes in favour and 35 against.
Source = MetiNews.Com