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Jan 18 2013

Harrow Labour Group Say that Council Tax Rise is Right

labour_roseThis Tory government has cut budgets for local government by almost 1/3 over 4 years, at the same time they are asking us to do more.

When I knock on doors and speak to families they tell me that they want Labour to keep libraries and children’s centres open, which help some of the most disadvantaged children in Harrow.

Residents also tell me that they want a fairer society that continues to look after elderly people, who have paid in to society all their lives.

That’s why, when the government continues to take money away from us, we have taken the difficult decision to increase council tax by 47p a week.

The increase will raise £1.8 million a year, which we will put in to services that Harrow residents care about.

For many years the Tory Government has not given Harrow enough money to pay for our services – and we get one of the lowest Government grants in London.

We receive £1,608 per resident, whereas neighbouring Brent gets £3,317 – if we got that grant, Harrow would be £400m per year better off.

Harrow Labour Party will lobby hard over the next few months to urge the Government to give Harrow its fair share.

Before making the difficult decision to increase council tax, the Labour run council has made significant savings by being more efficient.

We have changed the way we negotiate with our suppliers to drive down the price we pay to buy services. We have also sold off unnecessary council buildings and land to keep our costs down.

We will work with charities in Harrow to make sure our decisions maintain services for Harrow residents most in need. That is why I’m glad that Mark Gilham, Chief Executive of Harrow Mind, said:

“While I understand that an increase in Council Tax will put an additional burden on Harrow resident’s monthly bills, as a local charity supporting people with mental health problems and some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in the local community, I am aware from being involved in council consultations that the rise in council tax is vital to protect essential services for people who will have nowhere else to seek help.”

The Labour council has not increased council tax at all for the past two years, but with raising cost and even bigger cuts from the Tory government, that cannot continue.

I didn’t come in to politics to put up council tax and make cuts, but that is the situation Harrow been put in by the Tories’ failed economic policies. We have made this decision with a heavy heart and I appreciate that it is not going to please everyone.

Cllr Sachin Shah
Cabinet member for finance

Source: Harrow Labour Group

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