Council tax should not rise, says MP

By Emily Pearce

Thursday, February 20, 2014

 

COUNCIL Tax should not rise and services should not be farmed out to town and parish councils, according to Isle of Wight MP Andrew Turner.

Instead, the local authority should 'cut it's cloth' and decide which services were important enough to continue providing, he said.

"When the Independents were elected they said they would not increase council tax and they should stick by that. I would not support a rise.

"In my view, you should keep any tax as low as you can," said Mr Turner.

"They say things are so awful, that services have to be handed over to town and parish councils. I do not accept that. We all have to cut our cloth according to our income. Councils are no different. They have to decide what their priorities are and not put them onto someone else.

"You can always argue there are extenuating circumstances, but you have to find another way," he added.

Ultimately, it was a matter for elected members, at both county and local level, to decide whether to raise taxes, said Mr Turner.

His comments came ahead of next Wednesday's budget-setting meeting, when councillors will consider how best to save £28m over the next three years — following savage cuts from central government — and whether council tax should be increased.

The Independents' Framework for Change election manifesto stated: "There are no plans to increase council tax beyond the levels supported by central government."

A report due to go before the full council next Wednesday has recommended freezing council tax in the coming year, but considering a rise the following year.

Senior Independents have said they would be open to considering the idea of raising council tax by 1.99 per cent from April.

Reporter: emilyp@iwcpmail.co.uk

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