Labour call for council tax rise

By Rob George Monday 18 February 2013 Updated: 19/02 09:34

WORCESTER'S Labour group will call for an almost two per cent council tax increase at a meeting of the city council on Tuesday (February 19).

The proposed 1.99 per cent rise is one of a package of measures being tabled by the opposition party to tackle what they call 'eroded living standards in the city'.

Labour leader Coun Adrian Gregson said the increase would bring in £282,000 over the next two years and ease the pressure on the council's cash-strapped coffers.

The party says the rise would see 4,569 Band D homes face a £3.23 increase in their council tax bill this year while 2,580 Band A homes would see a £2.15 rise.

Coun Gregson said: "A council tax rise is planned by many council's across the country, both Labour and Conservative, as they see it as a responsible and prudent response to the Government's cutbacks."

The Labour leader also attacked 'irresponsible' claims from the Conservative group that any rise was a rejection of £100,000 of Government cash which is made available to any council which freezes the rate.

"The Government pay off for 2013/14 is a one-off which is unsustainable and will come to an end," he added.

Labour's finance spokesman Coun Richard Boorn (Lab, Nunnery) said: "What is becoming visible is this council is becoming anorexic and will soon not be able to respond to what the people of Worcester need us to do."

An increase in the council tax is one of four amendments to the city council's proposed budget which will be tabled by Labour at the meeting.

The party will also call for a review to be carried out into the continued need for a CCTV control room at Castle Street police station and for all services at risk of being commissioned out to private companies to be examined to see if they can be retained.

Coun Gregson will also call for the New Homes Bonus, cash given to the city council by the Government as a reward for building homes, to be allocated to projects through a cross-party working group.

"The New Homes Bonus is really important to us because we have always said it should be put towards building more affordable homes in Worcester," he added.

The city council's budget will be debated at the Guildhall on Tuesday evening. The Conservatives have proposed the council tax should be frozen for a third successive year.

* What do you think? e-mail the editor with your views at editor@worcesterstandard.co.uk

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