Pendle Council Tax Rises | Lord Greaves Quizzes Government Ministers

The Conservative Government Minister Viscount Younger of Leckie
acknowledged “the important role of councils, including Pendle, which deliver
the services on which our local communities depend” when replying to a
question in the House of Lords from the Pendle-based Liberal Democrat peer
Lord Tony Greaves.

He went on to say that Council tax across the country had gone down by
11% since 2010 and that “Councils have worked particularly hard over the
past five years to deliver a better deal for local taxpayers and have coped
well with reductions by reforming the way they work to become more
efficient in both back-office functions and front-line delivery service.”

Lord Greaves asked: “Are the Government not concerned that the round of
Council tax decisions by local authorities this year will produce increases far
above the rate of inflation and the growth in wages? At the same time,
there are continuous cuts in local government services. Is it not the case
that these are all due to the continuing reductions in local government
funding by the Government?”

Lord Greaves had asked the Government about the levels of service
provision and Council tax following Council budget decisions for 2016-17. In
reply Lord Younger said: "The Government believe that local authorities, as
democratically elected bodies, are best placed to determine the right
service provision for the needs of their particular area. We have given them
important new flexibilities to enable them to continue to do this in the most
cost-effective way.”

Lord Greaves said that the government minister Lady Williams of Trafford
had previously told him: “If all authorities took advantage of the
flexibilities…the expected average local council tax increase this year would
be 3.7%”.

Tony Greaves says: “The Council tax increase for Pendle Council’s share of
the Council tax this year is just under 2% (about 6p a week for most Pendle
households). The total rise in the Pendle area, before taking into account
Town and Parish Council precepts, is under 3.4%. So the overall Pendle rise
is less than the Conservative Government are telling Councils they expect
to happen under their ‘flexibility’.”

Tony Greaves added: “The important point is that in recent years the
Government has paid Councils a subsidy towards not putting up the Council
tax. This year they have scrapped this subsidy and told Councils they
expect them to get the money by putting up the Council tax.”

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