Just so the wider world knows the Conservative led Birmingham city Council has, for a third year in a row, delivered a below inflation Council Tax rise. The rise of 1.9% has made it the lowest rise of any of the other leading cities in the U.K. It’s worth comparing this against a few of our major city competitors.
The poor residents of Leeds will suffer a whopping 4.7% rise from April onwards. They, by the way have a Labour led council.
Bristol was not far behind in the ‘how much can we put it up by and not provoke a revolution’ competition with a 4% rise. They, by the way have a Labour led council.
Newcastle will be burdened by a 3.9% increase on hard working people and pensioners. Interestingly the tried to defend there rise by issuing a press release saying ‘this is what we predicted’. Yeah thanks for the heads up. Is it suddenly O.K. to get ripped off because you have advanced notice? The Great Train Robbery was still a robbery even if they phoned in advance. They by the way have a Labour led council.
Manchester – 2.9% – yet they had the audacity to issue an almost libelous statement saying ‘our council tax increase is one of the lowest in the country’. Err, we can count… They by the way, almost obviously, have a Labour led council.
Some how, after pulling off one of the best jokes of the decade – winning the capital of culture – Liverpool is still keeping sane thinking people laughing by trying to justify a 2.9% rise. They, by the way have a Lib Dem led council.
It doesn’t take a genius to as the question, if Birmingham can deliver a below inflation rise and still invest in services for its people, then why can’t its competitors? Is it a coincidence that the councils above seem to be led by councilors that seem to represent not only no commitment to delivering value for money to tax payers, but also an adherence to a tired, old, heavily state-ist approach to government that the old style Labour party will always embody?
There has been mixed reaction to this from both sides of the political spectrum that represents just how difficult being in office must be.
The left have tried the tired old debate relating to a cut on council tax means a cut in front line services. If this were true how come Birmingham City Council has given us a below inflation council tax rise for the past three years but we got 3 ‘stars’ from the Audit Commission recently?
The area of our party, perhaps diplomatically termed ‘right of right of centre’, will argue that a is still a rise and we should be looking to lower the tax burden on hard working families so they are free to spend the money they earn in a way they choose. Any increase in tax represents, in some way at least, an increase in the state.
As students or default position is always usually one of criticism. If some of us go on to loose our idealism latter in life it’s sad, but it is only a pragmatic reflection that actually life, like politics, is a full of compromise.
The few percentage difference that separates the councils above is vitally important because of what it represents. When people feel that the tax they pay is a serious issue to those who receive it then there is less resentment in paying it. Less resentment means they don’t mind working harder to earn more because they know it won’t be ripped out of there hand; when they do this their family benefits and society benefits.
So I think that we should welcome the below inflation rise, not as perfect answer to the council tax debate, but at least a reasonable start.