Whilst other Authorities in Cambridgeshire rush to increase Council Tax and impose other, new forms of taxation on hard pressed residents, East Cambs District Council will be the only District or upper tier authority in the country to have frozen Council Tax for 10 years in a row.
Conservative run East Cambs District Council will be freezing its share of Council Tax bills for the 10th year in a row at its budget meeting in February. At East Cambs we have a balanced budget for the next 2 years, £0 external borrowing, and a healthy 10% in General Reserves.
We have recently committed £2.3m to 9 fantastic community projects across the district. This is on top of over £10m we have already invested in other community infrastructure and £3.8m we have given to Parish Councils.
We also continue with our promise of free parking in the Council owned town and city centre car parks and we stand full square against the Cambridge Congestion Charge. We believe in encouraging alternative forms of travel and have done a huge amount to promote improved bus services and cycling and walking routes, including investing money into feasibility studies to try to attract funding.
In stark contrast, yesterday the Liberal Democrat and Labour Members of the Combined Authority took the decision to support Labour Mayor Nik Johnson’s proposal to impose yet another layer of Council Tax on residents across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. This is the first time this power has been used in our county and it goes against the wishes of the people – 79% of respondents to the Consultation question said NO.
It was absolutely not necessary to do this.
Conservatives tabled a perfectly reasonable amendment that got rid of the extra Mayoral Council Tax, but the Lib Dems and Labour voted it down. They chose instead to take money from hard pressed Council Tax payers and waste it on large salaries, vanity projects (like Cambridge City of Culture), and astonishingly, a bus service that costs over £250 per return journey in public subsidy, and is only used, on average, for 7 return journeys per week.
This comes after a Government ‘best value’ letter was issued to the Combined Authority earlier this week, effectively putting the Authority into Special Measures, following the lack of progress on the serious concerns raised by the External Auditors relating to ‘key individuals in the Mayor’s office’ and Governance issues.
It comes on top of other Council Tax rises – the very people that imposed the Labour Mayor’s new tax at yesterday’s meeting are also imposing Council Tax rises in their own Authorities.
- Lib Dem Cllr Lucy Nethsingha is increasing Council Tax by the maximum 4.99% allowed at Cambridgeshire County Council (this is by far the biggest share of Council Tax bills)
- Lib Dem Cllr Bridget Smith is increasing Council Tax by the maximum allowed at South Cambs District Council
- Labour Cllr Anna Smith is increasing Council Tax by the maximum allowed at Cambridge City Council
All three of the above Councillor’s Authorities are also behind the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s plans to impose the Cambridge Congestion Charge (yet another tax) of between £5 and £50 per day.
Taking money from people’s pockets with the force of law, particularly in the current cost of living crisis, without doing every single thing possible to avoid it is lazy, easy and wrong. The CPCA should live within its means; local tax payers should not be expected to pay for the failures of the Mayor and the CPCA and it is not necessary to put yet another charge on hard pressed local Council Tax payers.
At East Cambs District Council Conservatives promise to only ever raise Council Tax if it is absolutely necessary – our record of 10 years of freezes proves we mean what we say!