Political furore over tax hikes

Blackpool Town Hall
Blackpool Town Hall
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Householders in Blackpool are facing an increase of just under five per cent in their council tax for the coming year.

The borough’s executive is being recommended to agree a 4.99 per cent rise in the charge, which includes a three per cent precept to help plug a £3.7m funding gap in adult social care.

Coun Tony Williams

Coun Tony Williams

It means people living in an average Band D property will pay £1,425 towards Blackpool Council services from this April, compared to £1,358 in the current financial year.

However the final bill will rise further when precepts to pay for police and fire services are added on.

The current overall council tax charged for Band D is £1,585.

Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said: “Unfortunately, the Government has repeatedly ignored the Local Government community’s calls to deal with the dramatic underfunding of adult social care.

“They have instead shifted the burden entirely onto the shoulders of local council taxpayers.

“We therefore have no alternative but to try and make up the £3.7m shortfall by increasing council tax.

“This is a ridiculous situation, and one that I and other local government leaders, of all political persuasions, will continue to press the Government to rectify.”

But the Tories blamed the proposed increase on the council’s ‘waste of money’.

Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservatives on Blackpool Council, said: “An almost five per cent increase in our council tax is a very hard pill to swallow, made even more bitter when you consider the millions of pounds this council has wasted on bad property purchases and unused car parks.

“Also £17m per year placing looked after children outside of the borough because we don’t have the facilities.

“This Labour council also intend to borrow a further £130m to fund other dubious schemes including investment into at least four new hotels in the town,

“Someone has to pay for all their follies and as usual it’s the people of Blackpool.”

The recommendation will go before the executive on Monday before the budget, which includes £18.7m of cuts, goes to full council on February 23.