Brighton and Hove Labour accuse Tories of ‘giving up’ on council tax freezevThe Labour Party leader in Brighton and Hove has accused the Conservatives of giving up on their hopes of a council tax freeze.
Councillor Warren Morgan, who leads the Labour group on Brighton and Hove City Council, spoke after some Tories suggested that they might support a council tax referendum.
This would take place on the same day as the general election and local elections next May.
Voters would be decide whether council tax should rise by the 5.9 per cent proposed by the Greens as they wrestle with a £26 million funding shortfall.
Councillor Morgan said: “The Tories have no idea how to amend the Green budget so have given up.
“They’ve abandoned their freeze in favour of backing the referendum on a 6 per cent increase in council tax.
“That referendum, and the cost of sending a second set of council tax bills to all residents, will cost over £1 million.
“That’s £1 million of taxpayers’ money wasted, all because the Greens and Tories think holding a vote on the same day as the local and general elections will get their supporters out.
“Labour will continue to support the 1.9 per cent proposal that at least covers inflation-linked cost increases, even in the face of over £23 million in government cuts to council services this year.
“We won’t give up and pass the cost of cuts to residents.”
Labour said that the Home Office had said that at least £150,000 of referendum costs would have to be borne by the council even if held on the same day as other elections.
Residents will be sent bills at the 6 per cent rate in March. If the referendum rejects that increase, new bills will be sent in May. Officers estimated that cost this year to be around £800,000, Labour said.