Council tax will rise by 3.5% after Labour councillors vote against no increase

Date published: 24 January 2013

Following a heated debate in the council chamber last night (Wednesday 24 January) all 39 Labour councillors present at the full council meeting voted against a Conservative motion that council tax should be frozen and if Labour set an increase of above 2%, "including all levies", then a "discretionary referendum should be held".

In December, Rochdale Online revealed that the Labour led council was intending imposing a whopping 3.5% council tax increase on the hard pressed residents of the borough.

The news was met with outrage and this was compounded when Colin Lambert's council cabinet declared they were using a technicality to side step government legislation that provided for a local referendum if council tax is to be raised by more than 2%.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) accused Rochdale Borough Council of being ‘disingenuous' and has vowed to tighten the legislation to ensure councils such as Rochdale cannot use the same loophole next year to hit residents pockets so hard.

Conservative councillors said there should be no increase and that finding savings through cutting waste and improving efficiency was a more sensible and just alternative. This was backed by the Lib Dems but vociferously shouted down by Labour councillors, who voted en bloc to ensure council tax will rise by the proposed 3.5% this year, despite Council Leader Colin Lambert saying a similar rise in 2009, before he took over as council leader, was "outrageous in the current economic climate".


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