Blackpool’s council tax freeze

Blackpool Town Hall.

Blackpool Town Hall.

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TOWN Hall bosses have decided to freeze council tax in Blackpool in a bid to help people in the resort through the recession.

At a meeting of Blackpool Council’s Executive last night, council leader Simon Blackburn said he “could not justify” raising rates.

He also hinted he could not envisage a time, any time soon, when his administration would raise rates.

Addressing the meeting at the town hall, Coun Blackburn said: “We froze council tax last year because we feel under the current economic climate was the sensible option.

“I think to do anything other than that this year would show we don’t understand the people of Blackpool are under extreme financial pressure against a backdrop of vicious cuts.”

The members of the executive voted unanimously to freeze council tax.

It means taxpayers living in a band D valuated property will be charged £1,306.09 for the coming year.

Speaking to The Gazette after the meeting, Coun Blackburn explained the council’s decision, saying he did not want to hit “hardworking families” in tough economic times.

He said: “I can’t envisage circumstances in which we’d increase council tax at the current moment. I know some local authorities have but the wonderful thing about local government is there’s different solutions for different places.

“I absolutely respect the right of some of the big cities to increase council tax because their circumstances are very different to ours, but we know Blackpool South constituency has the lowest median wage int the whole of the UK.

“So against this backdrop I feel hitting hardworking families again in Blackpool is not something I could justify.”

During the meeting the executive also voted in favour of increasing council house rents by 2.95 per cent.

A report put to the meeting regarding the raise stated: “This increase will ensure delivery of the Queens Park redevelopment and approved conversion schemes.

“(It) also enables borrowing to remain within permitted limits and acknowledges the other financial pressure on council tenants given the current wider economic climate and planned welfare reforms.”