Elderly will suffer when council tax bills rocket again

Greenwich Conservatives this week expressed concern at a new report by the cross-party Local Government Association – warning of a £2.2 billion black hole in local councils’ finances and forecasting a 10 per cent hike in council tax bills next April as a result. On a Band D property in Greenwich, this would take the average bill to £1,298 – an extra £118 a year.

The report explains that the Government is instructing town halls to do ever more and meet costs over which they have no control, without providing a fair level of funding. Councils are having to cope with new licensing laws, supporting asylum seekers, EU rules for disposing of electrical equipment, pensions for council staff, higher landfill tax and EU waste regulations.

Gordon Brown is back to his old trick of keeping council taxes down before a general election, and hiking them up after. Labour have turned council tax into a punishing stealth tax – engineered by Whitehall, but with local councillors taking the blame when bills hit the doorstep. Across the country, council tax bills have gone through the roof under Labour, and in Greenwich have soared by 44 per cent since 1997. We fear that worse is to come.

We are concerned that the elderly, already facing soaring heating bills this winter, will not be able to pay their council tax demands. Labour’s taxes have hit not only hard-working families, but also some of the most vulnerable people in our society. We would like to see an automatic 50 per cent discount for pensioners’ council tax bills, backed up with less red tape and fewer burdens on councils so bills can be kept down for everyone.