Redcar & Cleveland taxpayers say no to 3.5% council tax increase

February 27, 2012 9:54 AM

Encouraged by the victory for council taxpayers in Brighton and Hove, we teamed up with local Liberal Democrats in Redcar to oppose a proposed 3.5% council tax hike. Local people were amazed Redcar & Cleveland Council were turning down a government grant worth around £1.4 million, and instead intend on taking £2 million from ordinary people by raising council tax.

The council leader, George Dunning, clearly doesn't understand the grant is being offered to cushion the blow for his council for another year so it can find more efficiency savings.  In an interview with the BBC he said:
"If we were to take this one-off grant, we'd end up in future years having to cut more jobs and more front-line services."

While some councils rigorously examine their spending to find areas where they can save money, Cllr Dunning seems to think his council is the model of efficiency.

What he should do is talk to ordinary people, as signatures were flying on to the pages of our petition urging councillors to think again. The event was reported in the local newspaper, the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, and other local radio stations reported about those North East councils who are proposing council tax increases.

As we reported last week, a total of four North East councils are planning 3.5% rises. Including Redcar and Cleveland, those councils are Middlesbrough, Darlington, and Stockton-on-Tees. If any of them had opted for 3.51% or more, they would have had to defend their decision to residents in a referendum. They are clearly grabbing all they can without have to fully justify it to us who have to pick up the tab.

Councillors in Stockton-on-Tees are meeting this Wednesday to finalise the budget. The full council in Darlington is meeting the following day, Thursday 1st March. Redcar & Cleveland and Middlesbrough are setting their budgets the following week.

It is not too late to send your views to your councillors urging them to accept the government grant and freeze council tax.

Encouraged by the victory for council taxpayers in Brighton and Hove, we teamed up with local Liberal Democrats in Redcar to oppose a proposed 3.5% council tax hike. Local people were amazed Redcar & Cleveland Council were turning down a government grant worth around £1.4 million, and instead intend on taking £2 million from ordinary people by raising council tax.

The council leader, George Dunning, clearly doesn't understand the grant is being offered to cushion the blow for his council for another year so it can find more efficiency savings.  In an interview with the BBC he said:
"If we were to take this one-off grant, we'd end up in future years having to cut more jobs and more front-line services."

While some councils rigorously examine their spending to find areas where they can save money, Cllr Dunning seems to think his council is the model of efficiency.

What he should do is talk to ordinary people, as signatures were flying on to the pages of our petition urging councillors to think again. The event was reported in the local newspaper, the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, and other local radio stations reported about those North East councils who are proposing council tax increases.

As we reported last week, a total of four North East councils are planning 3.5% rises. Including Redcar and Cleveland, those councils are Middlesbrough, Darlington, and Stockton-on-Tees. If any of them had opted for 3.51% or more, they would have had to defend their decision to residents in a referendum. They are clearly grabbing all they can without have to fully justify it to us who have to pick up the tab.

Councillors in Stockton-on-Tees are meeting this Wednesday to finalise the budget. The full council in Darlington is meeting the following day, Thursday 1st March. Redcar & Cleveland and Middlesbrough are setting their budgets the following week.

It is not too late to send your views to your councillors urging them to accept the government grant and freeze council tax.

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