18 Feb 2015 - Mark Wright disappointed at Council Tax rise

The February budget meeting at the Council voted through a 2% increase in Council Tax. Lib Dems opposed this for the second year running, because the government was offering a recurring £1.9million grant if we would freeze our rate and use some reserves to make up the amount equivalent to a 2% increase (so no cut in Council spending would have been required). The government says that "now is the rainy day we have been saving our reserves for".

We Lib Dems have always said that Council Tax is an unfair tax. It is "regressive", which means that poorer people pay a larger proportion of their money towards it than richer people do. This is the opposite of a tax like income tax, which is "progressive" because richer people pay a higher share.

With inflation near record lows of 0.7%, it's difficult to justify a 2% increase in an unfair tax during a cost-of-living crisis. Until Council Tax is reformed or replaced by a fair tax that doesn't hit the low paid hardest, Lib Dems we will continue to oppose increases where possible. The government grant being offered this year for a tax freeze means I think this raise could have been avoided, so I voted against it in the Council chamber.

Dr Mark Wright