Council Tax Rise Below Inflation Again!

March 15, 2007 12:00 AM
Newcastle Council Tax rises graph: 8% Average 1997-2004 under Labour, 2.4% average 2005-2007 under the Lib Dems

Council Tax Rise - less with the Liberal Democrats

Council tax bills for Newcastle residents will rise by less than inflation in April. The Liberal Democrat-run city council will increase council tax by only 2.9%. This is below the current 3.7% increase in the retail prices index and will be the third year running the Lib Dems have kept the rise below inflation.

Under Labour, Newcastle's residents paid more council tax than almost anywhere else in the country.

But in the last three years the Lib Dems have cut wasteful expenditure and increased spending on local services to record levels.

Now Newcastle's Band D council tax rate is 56th highest in the UK and the 2.9% rise will see it fall further down the league table in April.

The majority of the city's residents, who live in lower valued Band A or B properties, will pay only 50p or 59p a week extra.

Pensioners will also be better off because pensions will rise by 3.6% - meaning they spend less of their income on council tax.

Despite keeping council tax bills down, the Council will spend more on vital services. Spending on older people's care services will rise by £4.7 m (6.9%) and on children and young people by £3.8 m (5.7%), while school spending will increase by £7.1m.

There will be more money for community safety projects and domestic violence prevention. The popular Night Time Noise service will also be extended from weekends to run every night of the week.

Cllr Peter Allen, Lib Dem finance spokesman, said: "For the third year running we have kept our promise by keeping council tax low and investing in important local services.

"We are spending more on older people, children and schools, and reflecting residents' top priorities, such as tackling anti-social behaviour.

"When the Lib Dems took over in 2004, Newcastle's council tax rate was one of the highest in the country, now we much lower down the table and are on course to be below the average by 2009."