Council Tax Freeze – “Con or Fraud”?

Eric Pickles MP & Cllr Mackintosh - "Should show moral duty and responsibility"

Council Tax Freeze  – ” Con or Fraud”

Once again we have the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles MP demonizing Councils who have decided to increase Council Tax by up to 3.5% rather than cut essential front line services to the people they represent.

Is Mr Pickles assertion that Councils who in choosing to increase Council Tax are treating the electorate with contempt and failing in what he calls their “moral duty and responsibilty” to freeze council tax and keep the cost of living down a valid position to take or is it that he doesn’t want to admit that the council tax freeze is a fraud.

In recent weeks the Northampton Borough Council Conservatives have published a leaflet also claiming that they have imposed a freeze on council tax for the coming year to help the electorate.

But in real terms.

Have they or have they just signed up to a con?

The truth is that the Government Treasury (remember the Government Treasury only have the taxpayers money) have tried to impose a freeze in Council Tax by giving local councils who sign up to their policy funding up to the level of a 2.5% Council Tax increase.

In Northampton it is just under £400,000 or the equivalent of an increase of less than £5 a year to the council tax paying people of Northampton.

So we have Eric Pickles and the Leader of the Borough Council talking about “moral duty and responsibility” when in fact all that has happened is that the Conservative led Coalition Government  is handing back to taxpayers less than 10 pence a week of their own money and have the temerity to tell us we should be grateful for it.

Where I wonder is their “moral duty and responsibility” for having increased taxation by over 18% over the last 2 years at a time of rising inflation and increased cost especially on the basics of food, clothing, fuel and homes.

Where is their “moral duty and responsibility” for a failing economic policy that has led to record youth unemployment and the highest unemployment level for 17 years causing freeze on wages which is seeing people at all levels struggling to make ends meet.

When I say all levels it doesn’t appear to have had an impact on self-serving politicians who continue to argue for a less controlled expenses regime.

What Mr Pickles and Councillor Mackintosh are not saying is that the “council freeze hand-out” is guaranteed for this year only which in effect means that the Borough Council will start planning next year’s budget with a £400,000 shortfall so a 2.5% increase next year will only bring it back to last year’s level.

The consequences of the “council tax freeze” is for all practical purposes that it is not so much a con but a fraud on the electorate and the people of Northampton will next year have more cuts to essential front line services imposed on them.

I welcome anything that helps Northampton’s hard pressed, hardworking people but the claims that they are being helped through a “Council Tax” freeze is simply dishonest given the increased taxation the Government economic policies have imposed on everyone.

If Mr Pickles and Councillor Mackintosh are serious and really want to “exercise moral duty and responsibility” they should be talking to their friends and colleagues in the treasury demanding that the 2.5% VAT increase that is costing individuals and families hundreds of pounds a year whilst squeezing companies out of business leading to even higher unemployment be reversed immediately to help stimulate the economy..