Friday, 9 November 2012

Council Tax Freeze - Cost and Impact

Last night Richard Cornelius talked about a Council Tax freeze and that this was something everyone wanted. I made it clear during the meeting that a Council tax freeze would cost £40 million over the next ten years (which is almost 2/3 of the outsourcing savings) and asked what other services he was going to cut. Unsurprisingly I did not get a clear response. After the meeting I asked Richard again about the cut and his response was, what else could we do?

Well it may come as a surprise to many people but eight weeks ago there was no plan to introduce a Council tax freeze and indeed Cllr Dan Thomas seemed to be dead against it. The tax freeze came at the prompting of Cllr Brian Coleman when he was chairing the Budget & Performance Overview & Scrutiny Committee on 19th September. Thanks to the wonderful work of the Barnet Bugle this exchange was recorded and is on the film below (the key bit starts at 1 minutes 35 seconds in).

Credit: Barnet Bugle

You will notice that Cllr Thomas states that the budget for next year had been set for a 2.5% increase and that a council tax freeze will cost £4 million next year. He says "If you and your committee can recommended where we cut the £4 million from then we can consider that".

So 8 weeks ago we had a strategy to introduce a 2.5% council tax increase next year and now we have a council tax freeze and no other choice and we have to find an extra £4 million of cuts from the budget next year and every year going forward.

This is what is so fundamentally wrong with Barnet politician. They make it up as they go  along, driven by political dogma not common sense. Personally it makes me despair. Playing political point scoring will mean that more services are cut, the most vulnerable in our community are hit hardest, investment in our children's future decimated.

Richard you should hang your head in shame.

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