Labour's "more or less incompetence" in raising Council Tax

March 4, 2015 8:30 PM
By Robin Ashby

Councillor Ashby commented : The proposals in Labour's budget for Newcastle City Council are no more the latest chapter in a sorry story of the current administration's control of our great city. It's a story of delivering ……………..more or less…

Newcastle's Council Tax payers will be charged more and get less in terms of Council services

This budget proposes to raise Council Tax for the coming year by 6.5 times the current rate of inflation whilst service provisions are cut by a further £40 million.

Let's not forget funding reductions were necessary because of the last Labour Government's economic mess.

The Council's top managers are now paid more in total but deliver less value for money

Over past three years, the pay bill for the most senior officers has increased by more than 31%, whilst the number of managers paid more than £50,000 has reduced by only THREE. Yet the Council is less fiscally efficient than in 2011/12, with the total employment bill now a greater proportion of total council spending. As in our Army, our Generals are excellent individually but we have too many of them.

In contrast, the final budget of the previous administration halved the number of top managers and equally importantly cut the pay bill by a similar proportion - so our Council tax payers got the same "bang for their buck" under the Liberal Democrats

The Council Leader spends his time blaming cuts on the Coalition Government, but we have no evidence that his friends the Eds will give Newcastle a brass farthing more if, as looks increasingly unlikely, they form the next Government.

Would a Labour Government reverse funding plans? Of course they won't. Ed Balls has already said so. And Labour won't turn the clock back, as Shadow Minister Hilary Benn told david Faulkner at a conference.

The Leader takes credit for responding to Government rewards for improving the ways things are done, but at the same time, having blamed the Coalition for cutting Newcastle's grants for the last three years, Labour's policy is to turn down over £1 million in grant to freeze council tax for the coming year.

Instead, Labour wants Newcastle's residents to pay over £2 million extra in the coming year without consultation or a referendum, but admit that at best the Council's coffers will benefit by only £600,000.

Which to put it another way is 1.5% of the cuts they will implement at the same time. That's a £2 million bill for Newcastle's residents to pay for yet another political gesture as Laboiur breaks its local manifesto pledge. Which makes Labour more or less financially incompetent.