Labour-run Salford City Council has announced it intends to freeze Council Tax for 2013-14. Conservative-run Trafford is the only other Greater Manchester authority to announce a freeze. Manchester has announced an increase of 3.7 per cent, and both Oldham & Rochdale have announced rises of 3.5 per cent. Later this month, we will be protesting against those councils who are increasing Council Tax bills. (Full details are at the bottom of this post)
York City Council has formally announced it intends to increase Council Tax by 1.9 per cent in 2013-14. This didn't come as a surprise as the council leader, Cllr James Alexander, announced his intentions three months ago. Whilst other councils like Salford and Trafford have been working hard to find extra savings, York appears to have given up. Not that this stops Cllr Alexander from 'living it up' at taxpayers' expense.
Last month it was announced the 2014 Tour de France will start in Yorkshire and part of the route will go through the city. Along with representatives from other Yorkshire councils, Cllr Alexander and chief executive, Kersten England, travelled to Paris for the announcement. Whilst representatives from other councils travelled there and back on the same day, with their expenses paid for by the largely taxpayer funded Welcome to Yorkshire, Cllr Alexander and Ms England opted to for an overnight stay, and charged the council for their outward journey costs and hotel bills. After some research, the only thing I can see they managed to achieve from travelling to Paris a day earlier than everyone else was to get their photograph taken holding a banner in front of the Arc de Triomphe!
In an interview for a local radio station, Minster FM, I suggested that Cllr Alexander should speak to the council leaders who have succeeded in freezing or reducing Council Tax bills to get ideas where he could make further practical savings. Perhaps one of the first calls he should make is to Salford or Trafford.
What: Greater Manchester Council Tax Protest
When: 12.00 noon, Saturday 16th February
Where: Albert Square, Manchester (Outside Manchester Town Hall)
Although we were initially informed by an employee of Welcome to Yorkshire that as far as they were aware the delegates from other Yorkshire councils travelled to and from Paris on the same day, we have received an e-mail from Welcome to Yorkshire saying this is not true. As the press conference started at 08:30 GMT, it was not possible to travel there and back on the same day, therefore all delegates travelled on the eve of the press conference and stayed overnight in Paris; not just the delegates from York. The cost of the trip for the leader and chief executive of York City Council was £675. The article was written in good faith and we are happy to correct the error.