The Labour group on Northampton Borough Council has proposed an increase in council tax, a move it says is the “only way” of preventing job losses.
Councillor Danielle Stone made the call at a full council meeting at the Guildhall on Monday, in response to the ruling Conservative administration’s plans to cut £2 million from the budget over the next two years.
Labour has not proposed a figure it thinks tax should increase by, but under rules brought in by the coalition Government, any local authority wanting to increase it by more than two per cent must put the plans to a public vote.
The Conservatives have again pledged to freeze the borough council’s portion of the council tax bill, but are planning to alter staff terms and conditions, a move which has been criticised by Labour.
Councillor Stone (Lab, Castle) said: “Services are being cut yet again and staff terms and conditions are being undermined.
“The reality is that there is no scope to cut things any further and so we must have the political conviction and say that we need an increase in council tax.
“An increase in council tax is the only way we can now save our services and try to avoid further job losses.”
Responding to the proposal, council leader, Councillor David Mackintosh (Con, Rectory Farm) said: “It is shocking that the first new policy Labour have announced in Northampton since the borough elections is for an increase in council tax.
“The Conservatives have worked hard to make savings at the Guildhall by sharing back office services with other authorities and cutting waste and senior management. By doing this we have been able to invest in front line services and freeze council tax for the last three years.
“Labour’s proposal to increase tax is a real slap in the face for the hard working people of Northampton, and show they have learned nothing from the state they left the country in.”