Councillor claims tax freeze is a Government bribe

Adur District Council full meeting SUS-150223-174726001
Adur District Council full meeting SUS-150223-174726001

ADUR council voted unanimously to freeze council tax for another year last week, but a councillor said members have ‘missed the point’.

At the full Adur District Council meeting on Thursday, leader Neil Parkin said he was ‘very proud’ of the council’s achievement’s in the 2014/2015 financial year.

“We find ourselves in a reasonable state financially and the bottom line is we continue doing more for less, and I’m very proud of our achievements in light of that,” he said.

“I think we should be proud that we’ve frozen it four times in the last five years and cut it once.

“At the outset of this budget round, the council faced the challenge of finding savings for around half a million pounds, this challenge 
was successfully met and 
the council is now in 
a position not only to 
balance the budget and freeze council tax, but we’re reinvesting back into priority services to stimulate economic growth.”

However, groans could be heard from the gallery as councillor Paul Graysmark said it felt like the council had been bribed to not increase the tax.

“The point we’ve missed here is that it’s very self-congratulatory – it’s costing the central Government £62,000 of borrowed money to bribe us not to increase the council tax, and that’s been the case year on year.

“So, although it’s a good thing, the facts need to be kept in the back of your mind, we’re borrowing money from the Government that can’t get the deficit back to level.

“So we’re increasing debt for other generations.”

This is in reference to the Government’s Council Tax Freeze Grant, a scheme which awards councils for not raising their tax.

Councillor Liza McKinney said: “We need to be congratulatory in regard to the amount of money saved over the last three years by having joint services and finance officers that have given us jolly good expert advice.”

The council agreed to freeze tax for the 2015/2016 financial year.