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Council tax rises by 2.99% in budget that “sticks two fingers up to the government”

Amendments set out by the Greens’ Cllr Caroline Russell voted down by Labour

08 March, 2019 — By Emily Finch

Council leader Richard Watts and finance chief Andy Hull

 

COUNCIL tax will rise again following approval of the Town Hall budget last Thursday when Labour and Green councillors attacked government cuts.

A 2.99 per cent increase in council tax – about £30 a year for the average household – will come into force in April, start of the next financial year.

Islington finance chief Councillor Andy Hull said that this was the type of budget that “nobody here came into politics” to implement as Islington faces a further £50million worth of government cuts by 2022.

Council tax rose by 5.99 per cent last year – the maximum possible amount allowed by the government.

That figure included a one-off precept, amounting to three per cent, to fund adult social care services.

Council leader Councillor Richard Watts said he was angry at how the Tories had stripped councils, but added that this budget maintained a socialist agenda, sticking “two fingers up to the government and their policies”.

Amendments set out by the Greens’ Caroline Russell, the sole opposition councillor in the chamber, were voted down by the other 47 Labour councillors.

Cllr Russell joined Labour colleagues in condemning “cruel and careless” cuts by central government.

In her amendments, she proposed that the price of parking permits should be increased by £104. She said: “My amendment raises funds on the basis that it should never be cheaper to park a car than a bicycle.”

In Islington, it costs £104 to park a bike in a secure hangar, one of the highest charges in England, according to the Greens.

She also called for the removal of the 8.5 per cent council tax charge which poorest residents have to pay.

“With evidence of growing arrears, it makes no sense to be charging people council tax when they are simply too poor to pay,” she said.

She also budgeted a further £500,000 a year for adult social services, with a £1.4million injection this year.

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