You got us into this mess: Tax rise was not needed

Chesterfield’s Labour MP, writing in this paper last week, defends Chesterfield Borough Council’s Council Tax increase, by dismissing it as a few pence a week.

Surely though, the issue when deciding whether or not to impose any increase in tax on hard-pressed residents should be solely, whether or not it is necessary – not what the size of the increase is?

As reported in this paper, the Liberal Democrat opposition on the Borough Council voted against the increase because we don’t believe it is necessary.

In our view the council should have accepted the Government’s offer of a third consecutive grant to freeze the Council Tax, and found any further money needed by delivering services more efficiently.

Times are very tough for communities across the country at the moment, and that’s why councils should give the highest possible priority to doing what they can to help lighten the load.

After all, residents also face increases in the police precept and on water, gas and electricity bills - as well as the impact of the Government’s necessary austerity measures.

Whether these increases are in pence or in pounds, the one thing that’s certain is that added together they’ll make a significant extra burden - particularly for those on the lowest incomes.

But before the MP launches back into lambasting Government policy again, perhaps he might ponder a bit on why the Government is having to make cuts (might it be anything to do with the record national debt and deficit inherited from Labour)? and have some alternatives to suggest.

Cllr Ray Russell

Liberal Democrat Opposition Leader - Chesterfield

Borough Council