Council tax row sees Northamptonshire Labour and Liberal Democrats clash over price rise

Northampton Labour councillor Danielle Stone says that it is "cruel" to raise yet another cost

By Max Pearson
Friday, 22nd October 2021, 3:26 pm
As prices rise around the country, a single percentage can make a huge difference
As prices rise around the country, a single percentage can make a huge difference

Tensions remain high around the expected increase in Northamptonshire's council tax bill, with no two parties agreeing ahead of the Autumn Budget on Wednesday.

The increase could range anywhere from 1.9 per cent to 5 per cent depending on the council's spending review on October 27. It is said that the added tax will be used to fund services and social care in Northamptonshire that will likely lose out under the new spending plans.

But many are concerned that such an increase could push families' finances over the edge, as the country sees energy bills, National Insurance and others also becoming dearer.

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Councillor Danielle Stone, who leads Northampton Borough Council's Labour Group, said that it is "cruel" to raise yet another cost and that it is the government who should pay the bill.

She said: "Our household finances are already being squeezed by rising energy prices, rising food prices and the escalating cost of transport.

"It cannot be right that councils will yet again be forced to put council tax up in the next budget. We need a proper Local Government settlement from Government. We need a fair settlement for local people.

"Covid has had serious impacts on children, young people and older people. They will all need more services not fewer.

"Government must act now."

Yet it is precisely that fear of loss that has some supporting the increase. Councillor Sally Beardsworth, a member of East Midlands Liberal Democrats, is heading up an amendment to the budget which, if passed, will cap the tax rise at a more manageable level.

She said: "I totally understand that they [Labour] are trying to save the general public from rising bills but I'm worried that services will have to be cut to make up for that.

"They've done similar things in the past where they've not put it up and services have had to be cut. I don't want to go back to that.

"I think we should look into the savings made by things like the new charges for green waste collection and so on that could help to supplement the council's costs."