Local government minister says Cambs County Council’s planned tax increase is ‘flagrant democracy-dodging’

15:56 24 January 2013

Brandon Lewis, local government minister. Picture: JAMES BASS

Brandon Lewis, local government minister. Picture: JAMES BASS

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

THE local government minister has described Cambridgeshire County Council’s proposed council tax increase as “flagrant democracy-dodging”.

Cabinet will consider a 1.9 per cent rise in council tax at its meeting next Tuesday, being held in Wisbech.

However, the move has been strongly criticised by local government minister Brandon Lewis.

He said: “Every local resident will be dismayed by this flagrant democracy-dodging.

“Cambridgeshire County Council is doing hard-working families and pensioners a real disservice by raising its council tax to a hair’s breadth below the trigger level in order to avoid a public vote instead of taking up this Government’s offer to help fund a freeze for the third year in a row.

“Increasing council tax at this time is wrong. Councillors trying to undercut democracy in this way will find out what residents really think about their money being snatched money away on the doorstep or through a kick in the ballot box.”

Cabinet will also be asked to approve a number of other initiatives, including an end to national pay bargaining.

Cllr Clarke said this week he expected the Government to be none too pleased with the proposal to increase council tax but felt it was necessary – and had the support of the public.

“The cost equates to about £20 a year for a Band D property, or about 40p a week,” he said. “Four out of five people consulted supported the rise.”

He said: “We are doing what is best for Cambridgeshire. Four out of five residents surveyed said they would rather pay a council tax rise of two per cent or more to help support frontline services that protect ourmost vulnerable and keeps Cambridgeshire moving.

“These are our mothers, fathers and grandparents who need our help. Many have even stood up and protected our freedom and now it is time for us to support them.

“There is a national problem in adult social care funding and this rise means we can provide services to these most vulnerable people so I can look them in the eye when they are in desperate need and say that our services will be there for them.”

The county council says freezing council tax could mean cutting frontline services to meet a £37million funding gap.

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