Saturday, 6 April 2013

Irresponsible Conservatives

On Sunday I wrote about Tory electioneering and was looking forward to the way they would present their 2% cut in council tax. I received their leaflet two days ago and the headline is '2% Cut in Council Tax, No Cut in Services'. They give no explanation as to how they have achieved their goal and the reason is that there is no explanation to be had. The Tories ignored advice from council officers as well as the neutral advisers to the Conservative administration who told them "the Council does not yet have a detailed plan in place to manage the reductions beyond [this financial year] 2013/14."

It is going to get worse. This year the 2% cut will cost Lancashire County Council £7.3 million and if you lose this much money then you'll need to raise the tax bills by so much more than inflation just to keep still. In fact it is much worse than that. Budget cuts of £250 million are expected to hit the Council over the next four years.

If you are thinking that a council tax reduction is good for you then think about who it is bad for. It is bad for those who rely on council services that may be cut and it is bad for those who could really do with a service that could improve. I have written about the cuts to council tax subsidy but there are many other council services that could improve. Advocacy support for those with serious problems in the benefit system. Extra respite support for carers who save the County Council money. Energy saving grants. The list is endless. It is really bad for those in need. I spend my time knocking on doors and everyone wants something more from the Council so to that extent we are all in need, but some have more need than others.

Now think of the people who will be better off. This is easy. If you have a really big house and a really big council tax bill then you have an even bigger saving. You've guessed it. The Tory cuts are better for the rich.

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