Labour impose inner London’s highest council tax rise on Islington

So now we know.

As soon as they get the chance, Labour jack up our taxes.

Last night’s budget meeting in Islington was always going to be dramatic. With equal numbers of Labour and Lib Dem councillors, plus one independent and one Green, I hoped that a sensible majority would back the Lib Dem proposal to freeze the council tax. After all that’s clearly what local people wanted.

Then Cllr Donna Boffa – who was already poorly when I saw her last weekend – was hospitalised: and Labour seized their chance to hijack the budget.

When Labour ran Islington Council, we had the highest council tax in London. Last night, true to form, they gave us London’s highest council tax rise.

Labour councillors may be feeling jubilant that they’ve got their tax rise through; but it is ordinary Islington residents who will be paying the price.

9 Comments »

  1. benjamin said

    That’s appalling. Taking advantage of a person’s illness is bad enough but to use the opportunity to increase an already unfair tax is dreadful. These people are like vultures!

  2. How very disingenuous of you to say portray this as nasty Labour sneakily hijacking a budget vote. Labour’s proposals for free school meals have been planned for months and have been debated extensively in the public domain. Everybody knew it was going to be a knife-edge vote since the Lib Dem council can barely muster a majority at the best of times. Is providing free school meals to children really such an appalling idea? What do you think about cutting the councillors’ expenses (amongst the highest in the country)? Your total focus on tax sounds distinctly right-wing to me, perhaps proving that the Lib Dems are indeed just Yellow Tories.

  3. bridgetfox said

    Captain J – Thank you for visiting my blog, although I fear it is you who are being disingenuous. Yes, the issue has been extensively debated. While no-one objects to free school meals for those who need it, there have been widespread objections to putting up poorer households council tax to pay for the lunches of the rich (eg Lord Adonis and Boris Johnson).

    Now not only will the office cleaner pay a higher marginal tax rate than her boss, but she will be paying for his children’s lunches too. I don’t think it is right-wing to find that objectionable.

    As for the rival budget proposals, all parties proposed cutting councillors’ allowances which I think is right in these times. What changed with Cllr Boffa’s illness is that the Labour budget went through rather than the Lib Dem/Green compromise.

    Incidentally, the Green councillor, who is famously independently-minded, and herself a working Mum, said she thought the universal school meals plan was misguided and not the best use of funds. It will mean emptying the council coffers on one initiative just when the Audit Commission is warning that councils need to prepare for cuts in central government funding.

    I don’t think they expected to get the free school meals through – if Donna had not been ill they would not have done so – and it will be interesting to see how the plans stand up to scrutiny in terms of cost and feasibility.

    Party politics aside, if Labour really wanted to do something positive to improve the life chances of Islington kids, instead of make headlines, they could have spent the same money on mentoring schemes for young people at risk, particularly those for whom the existing sport’n’music youth provision isn’t enough.

  4. Barry Edwards said

    Bridget,

    You could have mentioned that the Lib Dems were actually supporting a 1.85% rise at the Council meeting, so the difference was much smaller. Also the vote was 24-22 (1 abstention) so the absence of Donna Boffa (I hope she is getting better) made no difference.

    Barry Edwards
    Labour member for Holloway ward

    • bridgetfox said

      My understanding is that the 1.85% would have been a compromise with the Green, less good than the Lib Dem preferred 0% but better (from the pov of those who don’t think Labour’s budget offers value for money) than the 2.5% rise we’ve ended up with. As it happens, Donna’s illness meant even that compromise did not get through.

      Thank you for being the only one of your colleagues, as far as I am aware, to give Donna your best wishes. She’s doing OK.

  5. Rupert Perry said

    Video extracts from the Council meeting where the various budget proposals were discussed can be viewed on the Council’s website. During much of the meeting the Lib Dem Executive and back bench members were absent from the Council Chamber. Quite an amazing site to see a ruling body absenting themselves from their own meeting. Maybe it demonstrates what the Lib Dems are really like. And we still don’t know whether Bridget supports free school meals and whether Lib Dems will be planning to abolish them should they hold on to power in 2010. But I guess the Lib Dems can promise anything these days as they know they are a spent force in Islington.

  6. bridgetfox said

    Hello Rupert!

    Sorry not to reply sooner, but I was out door-knocking. People don’t seem to care who was in or out of the council chamber but they are very clear that they don’t want their council tax going up, and they know they have Labour to thank for it.

    Is this the video you mean? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRaCB4lVzQU&feature=channel_page

  7. Rupert Perry said

    Hello Bridget
    You still haven’t said whether you support free school meals or not.

  8. bridgetfox said

    Hello Comrade Perry.

    Apologies for getting the video link wrong, it’s here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNikcIBP32o

    I support free school meals for those who need them. I don’t think it’s right to increase council tax on poorer families to buy a free lunch for the richest kids – redistribution in reverse – and in your heart of hearts, I don’t think you do either.

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s