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Full Conservative support for Council Tax freeze

Cockell Cllr Merrick Cockell, leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council and Chairman of London Councils, on the own goal by Labour and Lib Dem Councils insisting on Council Tax hikes - despite George Osbourne's very generous offer.

I have been closely involved in development of this policy as CCA chairman.
I was amazed to see the Evening Standard story claiming that all Labour and LibDem boroughs were opposed, including those in power-sharing arrangements with us.
I have been checking with Tory colleagues in power-sharing coalitions and all that have responded have confirmed that they were not consulted in the response given to the Standard.
I have written to the Standard as follows:

"Hard-pressed Londoners struggling to make ends meet will have read that, "Half of boroughs oppose Tory council tax freeze" (01/10/08) with disbelief 

Under the Conservatives' plans, funded by cutting Whitehall consultancy fees and slashing national bureaucratic bloat – not by cutting local funding - all boroughs proposing council tax rises of 2.5% or less for 2 years will get a 2.5% extra grant so that they can freeze council tax for their residents.

Yet Labour and Liberal Democrat councils appear to have rejected this opportunity out of hand. That is, of course, a matter for them. But they will have to explain to their residents why they could not find local savings to hit the trigger that could freeze council tax and provide real help to local people at a time they really need it.

Coupled with Boris Johnson's pledge that the GLA part of council tax will also be frozen, Londoners have the chance of a zero increase for 2 years – unless, it seems, they live in a Labour or Liberal Democrat-led borough."


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