Cllr Paul Jones, the then leader of the opposition on Amber Valley Borough Council, gave an interview on Radio Derby last May in which he promised not to increase Council Tax if Labour gained control of the Borough Council in the forthcoming elections.
The self-styled Socialist leader of the Borough Council has now put forward proposals which, if carried, could have the effect of increasing the Council Tax of the Parish and Town Councils in the Borough.
In 2013 the Conservative controlled Council introduced a local scheme of financial compensation to support and help Parish and Town Councils absorb the effect of the changes to Council Tax benefit introduced by the coalition government. When the Council Tax was set for the current year the opposition leader (the same Cllr Paul Jones) sought assurances that the scheme would continue. This assurance was given by the Conservative Leader, Cllr Bradford.
Now less than six months into the Labour administration these proposals, by the same Cllr Jones, will commence the reduction and phase out of the very scheme he sought to preserve. The effect of this proposal would reduce the value of Council Tax Benefit to working age claimants as the income of Parish and Town councils will reduce by £159,000 over the next 3 years; next year’s reduction alone will amount to almost 50% of this sum. The proposal will hit smaller Councils the hardest as they will lose all their support in 2015/16. This will have a disproportionate effect on their total income. The only way that the councils can replace this loss of income will be to increase their own Council Tax.
Cllr Stuart Bradford, leader of the Conservative group on Amber Valley Borough Council said “This is a further demonstration of the dismantling of important local support and services following on the heels of the threat to the popular Garden Waste Service. Whilst all involved in local government continue to grapple with reductions in funding, administrations need to be innovative in establishing savings, not simply saving money by wholesale cancellation of services.”