How you can help in the fight for lower council tax
George Osborne had barely sat down after committing the Tories to freezing council tax for two years when 16 London councils rushed out to denounce the proposed freeze. So it’s up to us to fight for a freeze and push for a cut in our sky-high council tax where we can.
There are two ways you can get involved. Below you will find a template letter you can send to the leaders of the councils opposing the freeze. Simply email it to the leaders listed below and wait for a response. Should you get a response, do email it onto me at firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> and we’ll publicise it on our blog. Remember that if enough emails are sent, the politicians will realise their decision to denounce the freeze is deeply unpopular.
Second, you can write to your local paper. I’ve listed the local papers that distribute within the councils who have denounced the freeze. There are also some pointers on how to set out the letter. Be sure to put in the subject line ‘letter to the Editor’ so that if your email happens to end up in the news inbox it will then be forwarded to the letters editor.
1. Lobbying the council leaders
Here are the 16 councils and their leaders opposing a freeze in council tax. Underneath you will find the template letter to send them.
Islington (Lib Dem, Cllr James Kempton: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> )
Kingston (Lib Dem, Cllr Derek Osbourne: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> )
Lambeth (Labour, Cllr Steve Reed: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> )
Lewisham (Labour, Cllr Steve Bullock: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> )
Newham (Labour, Mayor Sir Robin Wales: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> )
Richmond (Lib Dem, Cllr S. Lourie: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> )
Southwark (Lib Dem, Cllr Nicholas Stanton: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> )
Sutton (Lib Dem, Cllr Sean Brennan: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> )
Tower Hamlets (Labour, Cllr Lutfur Rahman: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> )
I’m writing to ask you to reconsider your opposition to George Osborne’s policy of freezing council tax. How unrealistic, after years of putting up our taxes, is it for you to freeze or even cut council tax? Can I ask if you’ve thought of lowering our taxes to help us cope with inflation and the other economic troubles we’re facing?
We all must pay our bit for frontline services, I understand that. But I object paying for council PR, self-congratulatory council literature and gold-plated pensions that have sent my council tax soaring.
The TaxPayers’ Alliance has set out how you can cut council tax in their ‘Ten Per Cent Challenge’ report. All you have to do is cut 10 per cent from your middle management, publicity and pension contributions. It’s that simple and could help families up and down the borough struggling with high taxes.
If George Osborne can take on board the ideas of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, what’s stopping you and your council doing the same, cutting the waste and giving taxpayers the tax break we deserve?
2. Writing to the papers
We also need your help in holding these councils to account by writing letters to your local paper to let your community know these council leaders oppose a freeze of council tax – ruling out a cut next year – and that they’re keen on increasing taxes at the worst possible time.
Below you will find a list of the councils who have opposed the freeze as well as a newspaper that covers the area. Please write to the paper calling for lower council tax and exposing how out of touch these council leaders are. Something must be done to stop the ever-increasing-tax mentality in local government. NB please don't send the pro forma letter to your paper as they insist on unique letters. I’ve included some bullet points below to guide you for your letter. But please do get writing. I’m sure you’ll agree we have to mobilise early to whip up support for lower council tax now so we can have a a tax cut land on our mats next spring.
Barking and Dagenham (Labour) – Barking and Dagenham Post letters email address: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
Brent (Lib Dem/ Tory) – The Brent Leader letters email address: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
Camden (Lib Dem/Tory) – Camden New Journal letters email address: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
Greenwich (Labour) – Greenwich and Eltham Mercury letters email address: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=Query%20via%20Website
Hackney (Labour) – Hackney Gazette letters email address: email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
Haringey (Labour) – Haringey Independent letters page email address: email@example.com and the Haringey Advertiser: firstname.lastname@example.org
Islington (Lib Dem) – Islington Tribune letters page email address: email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> and the Islington Gazette: email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
Kingston (Lib Dem) – Kingston Guardian letters page email address: email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> and the Kingston Informer: email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
Lambeth (Labour) – Streatham Guardian letters email address: email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> and the South London Press: email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
Lewisham (Labour) – Lewisham and Greenwich Mercury letters email address: mailto:email@example.com?subject=Query%20via%20Website
Newham (Labour) – Newham Recorder letters email address: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
Richmond (Lib Dem) – Richmond Guardian letters page email address: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> and the Richmond and Twickenham Times: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
Southwark (Lib Dem) – Southwark News letters page email address: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
Sutton (Lib Dem) – Sutton Guardian letters page email address: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
Tower Hamlets (Labour) – Tower Hamlets Recorder letters email address: John.Finn@newhamrecorder.co.uk
Waltham Forest (Labour/Lib Dem) – Waltham Forest Guardian letters page email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Letter bullet points:
- Council tax has doubled in ten years – enough is enough.
- Increased fuel bills and other utilities mean we don’t need another tax hike the most vulnerable cannot afford.
- The ‘Ten Per Cent Challenge’ report shows that affordable cuts can be made from publicity, payroll and pensions to finance an average cut of £40 for band D tax.
- These councillors aren’t even fighting for a freeze; they’ve already admitted they want more and more of taxpayers’ money.
- Ask where the money’s gone. Why after yearly council tax increases do they need to take more?
- The shorter the letter, the better and there’s a greater likelihood it will get printed.
- Sign off as a TPA supporter – we have to show the politicians we’re a grassroots force to be reckoned with!
- Keep writing – regular letters will help us get our message across as well as informing more taxpayers about our campaign.
Thanks for reading. It'll be a tough battle to lower our council tax next year, but one we can win.