Thursday, 5 September 2013

UKIP - the high tax party

The deputy leader of  UKIP on Cornwall Council has announced that he will be backing a 5% council tax rise for next year. This is more than double the council's proposed 1.97% increase and will require an expensive referendum to be held.

Cllr Harry Blakeley was speaking in a finance committee meeting yesterday when the budget proposals were being discussed.

Our draft budget - which is now open for a first round of consultation until mid-October - is proposing a 1.97% rise in council tax. The Liberal Democrats have always said that we would seek to keep council tax as low as possible and we proposed a freeze for the current year. Unfortunately, further government imposed cuts in our budget mean that we believe a small rise is necessary for next year.

The rules state, however, that any rise above 2% needs the agreement of the public in a referendum. That process itself costs almost £1 million and has to be paid for by the council - meaning less money for local services.

The referendum can only be held in May and, if not supported by the public, then the council has to send out new bills and make immediate cuts to services.

I don't think Cornwall can afford to take the risk with our services and I don't think it is right to ask hard pressed families to pay even more in council tax than the small rise we are proposing. So I think that UKIP's proposal is irresponsible. It is also particularly shocking when the party sought election on the basis of being a low tax party.

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