So today, I am announcing the first of the manifesto pledges that New Forest Liberal Democrats are making in respect of the District Council elections next May.
The Pledge is : “Freeze council tax to an “inflation only” increase for the first year and seek to maintain this for subsequent years”.
At first sight, this might appear to be quite a modest ambition. However, it was agreed not to go further than this because central government continues to reduce funds for local government, forcing the Council to raise tax locally, or to cut public services.
We wanted to be realistic in our ambition and we asked the Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officer of the Council to confirm this is so, which it is.
Liberal Democrat controlled Eastleigh Borough Council have proved what is possible, by not increasing council tax over a ten year period.
It should provide reassurance that we are not a “high spending” outfit and that we understand the burden that increased council tax places on hard working people.
At election time, the Conservatives usually portray themselves as the party that are best at restricting council tax and normally trot out dodgy statistics that show increases during the years when the Lib Dems were in control.
Of course, the figures they publish completely ignore the fact that inflation was then rising at over 10% annually, as opposed to today’s increases of between 2%-3%.
I fully expect them to continue with this false reporting, showing the value of asking the Liberal Democrats themselves what their policy is, rather than accepting the fake Tory version.
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It was a most remarkable day at Hampshire County Council today. As Leader of the Liberal Democrat Opposition group, I led the charge against the proposed closure of the Orchard Close Care Home, in Hayling Island.