Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My council tax speech to Gateshead Council

This is the video of my speech to Gateshead Council budget meeting on 26th February. I was still deputy leader then but was also leader elect. The election to replace Frank Hindle had taken place three days earlier. However, only we knew that! The leadership announcement was made the next day.

Gateshead decided to go for a 1.95% rise in council tax. We argued that there should be a freeze which would allow the council to claim a £900,000 grant from the government. A rise of 1.95% would bring in £1.4 million but lose the £900,000 grant. The net effect was to raise £500,000 and to reduce further the national taxes paid towards the cost of Gateshead's services.

Furthermore, over the past 2 years, Gateshead has spent an accumulated £5 million less than was agreed in the council budgets. £5 million more raised from council taxpayers than was needed. The money has been accumulated in reserves that now stand at £16 million. This rather goes against the grain of Labour's fake anger about the cuts. They set a budget which they claimed had too many cuts and then managed to spend less than the amount they already claimed was too low. And their crocodile tears shed over the loss of government grant shows just what a bunch of hypocrites they are. They were offered money and they turned it down. I bet that won't be appearing in their election leaflets.

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